In an address at the Digital Landscapes conference at the University College Dublin, Google Europe boss John Herlihy laid out Google’s vision of the future , and it is smartphones. According to Herlihly, “in three years time, desktops will be irrelevant.” He points to Japan, where he says that “most research is done today on smartphones, not PCs.”
Desktops on the road to oblivion? Well, not quite. In parsing Herlihy’s comments, it might be fair to say that he expects technology users will become differentiated, with the vast bulk of them using mobile devices. You don’t need a desktop to run Google searches, post a Tweet, update Facebook, send or receive email, listen to music, or check a calendar. Thinking about what most people do with computers--it’s actually quite limited--a desktop is over-kill. If given the alternative, it makes sense that a lot of consumers would jump to the less powerful, but more convenient mobile devices.
And Google wants to be there when the leap is made. Going forward, says Herlihy, Google will view its activity through a mobile lens, with an emphasis on cloud-based computing solutions. “At the end of the day it's the customer who owns the cash,” said Herlihy, “That’s why we construct our organization to deliver value. The underlying framework is to make it easier for people to do business, solve problems and move on.”
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