Desktops “irrelevant” in 3 years says Google Europe boss

Mar 4, 2010
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We know Google would prefer us to be tapping away on our Android phone or pecking at a Chrome OS notebook, but it still comes as a moderate surprise to hear the company's execs predicting the death of the desktop within just three years.  That's the opinion of Google Europe head John Herlihy, who took to the stage at the recent Digital Landscapes conference to tell attendees that "mobile makes the world's information universally accessible" as well as make his outlandish prediction.

"In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs" John Herlihy, Google Europe

Of course, there's a place for Google in this brave new mobile world, with Herlihy flagging up the increasing importance of search as a tool for cutting through this "universally accessible" knowledge.  However he warned that, while there were business opportunities there, they would need to reach a user tipping-point: "ubiquity first, revenue later."

Herlihy also explained some of Google's approaches to business, and for a change the "do no evil" mantra failed to make an appearance.  Instead, he compared the search giant to the Roman army:

"The other thing we do is celebrate failure. Here’s an analogy – the Roman legions used to send out scouts in different directions. If a scout didn’t return, the army didn’t head in that direction. We seek feedback at every opportunity on something – we either kill it, adjust it or redeploy resources. When we build something we strive for ubiquity in usage and adoption. That helps us understand how customers react and then we build a revenue model." John Herlihy, Google Europe

[image via SER]


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