Ina Fried

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When He Isn’t Stepping Down as CEO, Eric Schmidt Is Writing About Google’s Mobile Future

While abdicating the Google throne is certainly the big news from Eric Schmidt on Thursday, I’m also intrigued by some comments the outgoing Google chief had to say in a recent guest article for Harvard Business Review. In the piece, Schmidt talks about how mobile stuff is perhaps the biggest thing at Google for 2011.

“As I think about Google’s strategic initiatives in 2011, I realize they’re all about mobile,” he wrote. “We are at the point where, between the geolocation capability of the phone and the power of the phone’s browser platform, it is possible to deliver personalized information about where you are, what you could do there right now, and so forth — and to deliver such a service at scale.”

However, Schmidt says Googe needs to do three things–help spur faster networks (he sites LTE in particular), support mobile payment initiatives and increase the availability of inexpensive smartphones. Those latter two initiatives he says, are particularly important in the developing world.

“Phones, as we know, are used as banks in many poorer parts of the world—and modern technology means that their use as financial tools can go much further than that,” Schmidt said. As for getting smartphones out there, Schmidt argues Google can have a pretty big impact.

“We envision literally a billion people getting inexpensive, browser-based touchscreen phones over the next few years,” he wrote. “Can you imagine how this will change their awareness of local and global information and their notion of education? And that will be just the start.”

It’s hard to argue with what he wrote. There’s probably only one part that needs updating–his contributor information lists him as Google’s Chairman and CEO.

Whatever his title, Schmidt is slated to be deliver a keynote speech at next month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.


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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle