Google CEO Eric Schmidt returned to a familiar stomping ground in discussing autonomous search, or contextual discovery, as well as the value of NFC for Android.
the intersection of mobility and search-would anyone expect Google CEO Eric
Schmidt to discuss at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week?
exactly what Schmidt did during his keynote. He described how Android
smartphones make possible "autonomous search," where Google's search
engine suggests search results, such as restaurants and museums, that users
might be interested in, based on preferences indicated from their search
interesting to think of your phone first as a communications device, then a
data platform and now a serendipity platform, giving you the ability to find
new things and meet new people you wouldn't meet otherwise," Schmidt said
during his keynote.
nothing new. Or, rather, the idea is not new. Schmidt has been discussing
this topic and similar scenarios since
last September at TechCrunch Disrupt. Schmidt and his core leadership
former search user-experience guru Marissa
Mayer to lead these efforts as head of geolocal products at Google, though
products have yet to surface.
December called the effort one of "contextual discovery," where
Google tracks information users generate in their computer Web browser and
Google toolbar to "look at where people have been going on the Web-then we
also rumors ahead of Mobile World Congress that Google could unveil
a mobile payment platform based on NFC (near-field
communication), the short-range wireless technology that enables communications
between sensor-laden smartphones and contact terminals. Presumably, such a
platform would enable Android phone users to swipe their devices to procure
not reveal such a solution in his discussion, but just as he first did
in a tete-a-tete with reporters at the Web
2.0 Summit last November, the CEO espoused the benefits of NFC with reporters
after his speech.
Android smartphones equipped with NFC would pave the way for wireless
transactions in the future. Google, he said
, could work with advertisers to extend
offers to phones with NFC chips. Google is currently testing NFC on posters
(but not payments) in stores in Portland, Ore., as part of its Google Places
local search and ad efforts.
are here (Samsung Nexus S) and more are coming (Samsung Galaxy S II). The next
step would be getting merchants to support NFC en masse and for applications
developers to create software to facilitate such transactions.
strokes, Google is working on contextual discovery and NFC. The latter would
work first for ads, then possibly for mobile payments. What does this mean? It
means the mobile phone can make the world one's personal oyster.
person walking down the street, passing a restaurant and receiving a
notification that the eatery has a coupon for cuisine he or she enjoys. When he
finishes his meal, he pays by swiping his NFC-enabled smartphone against a
point-of-sale terminal. The phone is a local directory and wallet rolled in
This is what
Google is working toward with search and Android. The big questions are now: What
will these services look like? What privacy measures will Google provide? When
will we see the fruits of Google's labor?