Ina Fried

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Google’s Eric Schmidt Shows Off Movie Studio, a Tablet Video-Editing App

Google’s Eric Schmidt said that while computers are being criticized for driving humans apart, the opposite is actually taking place as devices are doing work that humans don’t want to.

“Computers are really here to make us happier,” Schmidt said, promising these devices will give people more time with friends and family, not less.

Schmidt, who gave up the CEO role last month, said that nearly all devices will get more interesting when they connect to the Internet. A music player that doesn’t connect to the network isn’t very interesting, he said, perhaps opening the door to the announcement of a long-talked-about, cloud-based Google music service.

The talk is just geting started. Mobilized got a really good seat in the front row, just two seats over from Andy Rubin, and has live updates below.

5:59 pm: Schmidt talking about things phones should be able to do, such as figure out better traffic routes and bridge language barriers. “You really can do magic,” he says, pointing to Google Translate, which lets you speak one language and have a language you don’t speak returned. “That’s done in a twentieth of a second or what have you,” he says.

6:01 pm: Brings out colleague to show an application on “an interesting new device.”

6:03 pm: The device is the Motorola Xoom tablet and the program is “Movie Studio,” an app built from the ground up for creating and editing movies on tablets.

He has a few images and videos from around Barcelona.

He creates a movie onstage and shows how it can easily be shared on YouTube. (This looks like iMovie and Windows Live Movie Maker so far–both of which also let you edit movies and share directly to YouTube.)

6:07 pm: Upload goes slowly, though, as Schmidt notes it is the problem of doing a demo at a mobile network convention where everyone is hammering the networks.

6:09 pm: The goal of many of Google’s products, Schmidt says, is to do tasks quickly so that people can get back to being human. “We ultimately believe that speed matters,” Schmidt says. Google Instant, he says, can save two to five seconds per search.

Search is also becoming more personal. With permission, users can get more information. Next up, he says, is autonomous search as information comes up as one walks or drives, and is driven by location.

“That’s just the beginning of a large number of new apps that use that infrastructure to make a big difference,” Schmidt says.

Schmidt says how much info to share will be up to the user, but those that opt in can get much richer results.

There’s also a trend, he says, to returning more structured data, such as travel.

Google Eric Schmidt

6:12 pm: Stat time: 120 million people using Chrome, up three times from a year ago.

YouTube revenue doubled in 2010. Now just being able to monetize professional content at a rate that starts to make sense for content partners.

6:18 pm: Computer science can help all kinds of things, Schmidt says. With phones and tablets, “You never forget everything” which is precisely what phones are good at.

If you choose, you can remember the hotels you stayed in and the people you met, etc., “Humans forget,” he says.

Computers are also preventing people from ever getting lost. When I was a boy growing up in Europe “I was always lost,” Schmidt says.

Translation may not prevent war, but should at a minimum increase dialogue, Schmidt says.

6:18 pm: “Even better you are never lonely,” he sats, because computers can point you to nearby friends or connect you to distant ones.

You are never bored, Schmidt says. You are never out of ideas because we can always suggest what you can do next.

Other changes, include the self-driving cars that Google has been working on.

“It’s obvious that cars should drive (themselves),” he says, adding that there will be a “kill switch” in case there are bugs. And it will take time, he says.

“This is coming. It will be decades, I suspect–not a year.”

He also says these innovations will scale to the masses.

“It’s a future for the masses, not the elites,” he says.

6:21 pm: With that, on to Q&A.

6:23 pm: Talking about targeted broadcast quality ads as next frontier.

“Who wants to see an ad that is not relavent to them,” Schmidt says. And that leads to revenue, which Schmidt points out is the whole point of advertising in the first place.

6:24 pm: Question on Android fragmentation saying there is frustration among phone makers and developers.

“We hear some of this,” Schmidt says. “You’ve stated the problem more strongly than I would have, but I will take that as feedback.”

6:26 pm: Question about role of Google in financial services.

Schmidt quips that Larry Page and Sergey Brin periodically suggest that Google issue Google Bucks as its own currency, but Schmidt says he always points out the regulatory issues.

On a serious front, he talks about the power of near-field communications as a means to turn real-world transactions into electronic ones.

“In that are very large businesses,” he says.

(Google built NFC into its Nexus S device.)

6:29 pm: Are you interested in Twitter?

“We love Twitter and I like to tweet,” Schmidt says, eliciting laughter from the crowd.

6:31 pm: Why so many operating systems?

Sometimes these things occur because the teams move so quickly, Schmidt says.

People have been asking when Gingerbread and Honeycomb will come together. Schmidt: You can imagine the follow-on release will start with an “I” and be named after a desert and will combine the best of both, Schmidt says.

These releases occur on roughly a six-month cycle, Schmidt says.

6:33 pm: On Chrome OS, Schmidt says there will be an opportunity to merge that with Android over time, but better to wait for the operating systems to mature and a natural time than to push them together too soon.

6:34 pm: On HTML5, Schmidt imagines that some number of years from now, most apps–mobile and desktop–will be running on HTML5.

6:39 pm: Question on Google’s role in health care.

Phone should be able to, at a minimum, carry medical info. Several percent of queries on Google are health-related.

6:42 pm: Is Facebook with its “Like” button a main competitor?

Today our main competitor is Microsoft. Microsoft has a good product in Bing, he says.

“There’s a couple cases where it might be too good. We discussed that in a blog post.”

They have the cash, the scale and the reach to do good and amazing things.

6:44 pm: On Nokia-Microsoft partnership:

“We would have loved it had they chosen Android,” Schmidt says. “That offer remains open.”

Android would have been a good choice for Nokia, he says.

‘We certainly tried” to get them, he says.

6:46 pm: How do you approach the fact that Android going higher and lower in the market?

Schmidt says that the company tries to show the best in its Nexus line, while putting minimum specifications out there to set the bar for what developers can expect.

6:47 pm: Question on why Google is not more broadly used in the education market?

Schmidt says the company has funded a number of YouTube professors. “We’ve not yet come up with the killer [education] app,” he says.

6:49 pm: Asked about Google’s interest in the PC operating system market, Schmidt says that Google’s answer is Chrome OS. Sometime in the spring you will see a series of PC makers come out with Chrome OS devices. However, he adds they won’t run current PC apps, such as Windows apps.

“It does not run any of your current PC applications so you might think about it,” Schmidt said. That said, he adds there are, in most cases, cloud-based options that are roughly equivalent.

6:52 pm: With that, Schmidt wraps up.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik