Monday, July 5, 2010

Rejoice: Google will save the day

Google CEO Eric Schmidt
at Activate 2010.
It's good to know that Eric Schmidt has my back.

The Google CEO sees a future for newspapers -- an online one -- once we get over the hump of shifting from analog revenue to digital. (Dollars in the former are now pennies in the latter as advertising moves to the Internet)

"We're in one of those transition periods, and it's very painful," he said last week in an interview with Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, at the UK newspaper's Activate 2010, a conference held in London to discuss technology and the future. (You have to go here to view the interview, since I couldn't embed it, but it's worth the trip.)

"What does the news-reading experience look like some number of years from now?" Schmidt asks. "Well, it's clearly going to be on one of these digital devices because you carry it everywhere." It will offer deep dives in reads as well as targeted ads; it will be presented in full color and with video.

"It'll know what you read and so it'll show you what's changed, as opposed to repeating things over and over again," he said. "The newspaper often tells me things I already know, cause I already read it and they forgot I know it because it's static, not dynamic.

"But the most important thing," he added, "is it will be highly personal." (Just days before Schmidt's appearance at Activate 2010, Google News was redesigned to offer a personalized collection of stories under the heading "News for You" that users can build using keywords.)

And Google's role in newspapers' future? To offer the various components of this brave new world for media companies to choose from and build their business and content models.

And that's where Schmidt and the company have me and other laid-off ink-stained wretches covered: "I believe that ultimately not only will the revenue be replaced [in the shift from analog to digital] but I think it will be higher. And the reason I believe that is ultimately the medium is more personal."

Thanks for the upbeat outlook, Mr. Schmidt.

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