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Google’s CEO Forecasts “Augmented Humanity”



I love reading about the future Google envisions for us, as communicated through its CEO Eric Schmidt. We’ve all known that mobile is going to be the big key in all of this. How else will you be able to have advertising pushed to you when you’re in front of  store that may fit your profile?

But this one makes me laugh a bit, even if it is just the semantics. Speaking during the closing keynote at IFA, Schmidt said:

When someone asks ‘what’s the weather like’ – what you’re really asking is ‘should I wear a raincoat’ or ‘should I water the plants?’ He calls this “augmented humanity.” The point is to have the searches be more than just relevant, but to tell you what you should be doing, or what you should do next.

Speaking for myself, I’d guess that half the time I look up the weather it is about what I should be wearing. The other half has to do with other things, like will we see a snowfall that might imperil my business traffic, as an example. But I’m sure there are those who would want to wake up and have their mobile device tell them what to wear based on the weather. After all, we’re a culture that is becoming increasingly less about making decisions and taking responsibility, and more about following trends.

The other part of Schimdt’s new mantra is that that Google is “trying very hard to get you something fast. Never underestimate the importance of fast – speed matters because your time matters.”

While true and laudable as a goal, that depends on so many variables in a “supposed” always connected world that I’m not sure what “fast” would actually mean. The one thing we all know now is that, at least in the  US, “fast” comes at a steep price and depends on where you live. I doubt even with newer technology if that will ever change here in the US.

But then perhaps that’s why Google is also promising its big play into your living room for this fall. Schmidt says Google TV will roll out later this fall, providing plenty of content to keep consumers riveted to their screens, and of course the advertising.

Again, I’d classify my feelings about all of this as very intrigued and full of questions. But the perhaps someday, I’ll have an “Augmented Humanity” app that will help me figure it all out.

Via PC Mag, Reuters, and paidContent.UK



  1. GoodThings2Life

    09/07/2010 at 11:20 am

    I find it increasingly depressing that humanity is, as you said, reaching a point in which we are only following trends.

    What are we, as society, going to do when we reach the point that we are incapable of making decisions and setting those trends (and of course taking responsibility)?

  2. aftermath

    09/07/2010 at 11:36 am

    I have to chuckle at calling this “Augmented Humanity”. I think it’s just called cutting through people’s BS. Like Schmidt, I’ve ALSO noticed that people often ask one question when they’re really looking for the answer to another:

    * “Are you going to eat that last French Fry?” = “Can I eat your last French Fry?”

    * “What restaurant would you like to eat at tonight, honey?” = “Can we please eat at the place I want to eat at this time?”

    * “Do you like my new hair cut?” = “Do you still want to be my friend?”

    I just never thought of coming up with a new term for people being so evasive and trying to out smart each other with the passive aggressive questions that we ask each other in the spirit of “niceness”.

  3. Sumocat

    09/07/2010 at 1:24 pm

    Actually, I think Schmidt is pushing this “augmented humanity” term as a response to Bing’s “decision engine”. His point on relevance is the exact point that is consistently pushed in Bing’s marketing. Maybe it’s just me, but Google seems a little defensive on this point, like they don’t know how to deal with search engine competition that isn’t about volume. Or more accurately, they don’t know how to respond to having their greatest strength turned into a weakness.

  4. Tomas Antila

    09/07/2010 at 3:09 pm

    normaly about Google’s plans I’d say stop being so 1984. But right now I say: stop being like my mom, I KNOW I will need to take an umbrella!

  5. Chris Hickie

    09/07/2010 at 6:13 pm

    Maybe he’s secretly hinting the Google’s cloud is becoming sentient and will soon…TAKE OVER THE WORLD.

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