Google’s Eric Schmidt on What the Web Will Look Like in 5 Years

Google CEO Eric Schmidt envisions a radically changed internet five years from now: dominated by Chinese-language and social media content, delivered over super-fast bandwidth in real time. Figuring out how to rank real-time social content is “the great challenge of the age,” Schmidt said in an interview in front of thousands of CIOs and IT Directors at last week’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando 2009.

Gartner is the largest and most respected analyst firm in the world and much of what Schmidt said in his 45 minute interview was directed specifically at business leaders, but we’ve excerpted 6 minutes that we believe is of interest to anyone who’s touched by the web.

Highlighted comments include:

  • Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.
  • Today’s teenagers are the model of how the web will work in five years – they jump from app to app to app seamlessly.
  • Five years is a factor of ten in Moore’s Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today.
  • Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance – and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.
  • “We’re starting to make significant money off of Youtube”, content will move towards more video.
  • “Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results.”
  • There are many companies beyond Twitter and Facebook doing real time.
  • “We can index real-time info now – but how do we rank it?”
  • It’s because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that “is the great challenge of the age.” Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.

There’s lots more in the full 45 minutes of Schmidt’s interview, including a statement that a Google OS Netbook will be here in 2010, with HTML5 local caching for offline use.

That’s the roadmap, though, that’s guiding much of what Google is doing today. From Chrome OS to Google Social Search.

Does that sound like a compelling vision of the future? Not discussed were distributed social networking, structured data, recommendations, presence data and other factors that could complicate Google’s plans. What do you think the web will look like in five years?

See Also: ReadWriteWeb’s Top Trends Defining the Future of the Internet

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