Eric Schmidt estimates that Google won't manage to index
all the world's information until around the 24th century.
It could take 300 years to index all the world's
information and make it searchable, Google's chief executive
Eric Schmidt predicted on Saturday at the Association
of National Advertisers annual conference in Phoenix.
did a math exercise and the answer was 300 years,"
Schmidt said in response to an audience question asking
for a projection of how long the company's mission will
take. "The answer is it's going to be a very long
Of the approximately
5 million terabytes of information out in the world,
only about 170 terabytes have been indexed, he said earlier
during his speech.
to the audience of advertisers that when he first arrived
at Google four years ago, he viewed ads from a sceptical
consumer standpoint. Shown ads on Google, he thought "You've
got to be kidding! People actually click on this stuff?
And they do."
said he quickly realised, though, that "ads actually
do have value if you can figure out the right ones to
the interactivity it enables, such as the ability
to measure an Internet ad's success rate by viewing how
many people click on it, is shifting power in the advertising
industry from executives at corporations to consumers,
power is moving from us to the end user; it's occurring
by the power of the personal computer, by the power of
the cell phone," he said. "Thirty years ago
we would make the decision [about ads]. Now, that person,
that individual makes that decision."
increasing on the Internet and cable television, and
showing modest to no growth in newspapers and magazines,
Schmidt said. "The cost per revenue dollar of online
ad systems is so much lower than [for offline advertising],"
Of the estimated
$283bn spent on advertising in the United States,
$11.3bn is spent on the Internet, with Google taking
in about 1 percent of that, Schmidt said.
Despite the slowdown
in print advertising, Google is testing a campaign in
which the search giant is using its audience targeting
technology to help customers place ads in magazines, he
there will always be ads on the Internet but that there
may be an "ad-free subset" of the Internet that
might offer a different way for people to pay for things,
such as using micro-payments.
During the question-and-answer
session, audience members turned to social, ethical and
legal topics. One question dealt with criticism Google
and Yahoo have received for cooperating with Chinese government
is neutral. It can be applied for good or evil,"
he said. "Overwhelmingly, the message of technology
is a positive one."
Asked to explain
why Google has submitted a proposal to provide the
city of San Francisco with free wireless Internet service,
Schmidt said the plan arose out of work several engineers
did on a system that would allow companies to make money
offering such a service. "It's an interesting experiment,"
he said. "If it scales and if it is successful, we
think it's going to be very good for the world."
Schmidt also responded
to a question about complaints Google has endured,
including a lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild over its
plan to digitise books and make them searchable online.
Google's Print Library Project adheres to US copyright
law, he said. A "fair use" provision under the
law allows for excerpts of copyrighted material to be
used and Google will only display snippets of copyrighted
text, he said. "That model seems to be durable,"
he said. "We're very, very careful if copyright is