The next "great frontier in advertising" will put on mobile phones the quality and the creativity of TV ads. Google CEO Eric Schmidt sent that message, among others, while speaking at the Mobile World Congress Tuesday.
"Historically, information was something held to the elite, the rich people, the educated people," he says, but because of the proliferation of mobile devices, about 2 billion people will enter the conversation in the next three to four years. That conversation for Google focuses on near field communication; confusions related to Google's operating systems; and the exhaustion within the next six months of Internet Protocol 4 addresses and movement toward the next version, IPv6.
Similar to television ads, display ads tell stories. As Google gets better at targeting mobile ads, consumers will see more useful information through opt-in personalization features. Near field communication chips will assist in serving those "narrative" stories on mobile phones. The chips have an 80-character encryption key that advertisers can use for secure electronic transactions.
Schmidt says a combination of technologies will help serve coupons, alert the merchant of the consumer's intent to find the store and ready the transaction before he arrives. It's all opt-in. A variant of this mobile model will transform electronic payments and commerce, he says.
Attempting to dispel confusion about Android vs. Chrome, Schmidt says to think Gingerbread for mobile phones, and Honeycomb for tablets. The next one will begin with an "I" name after a dessert, and it will combine the "G" and "H" releases that occur about every six months. Android supports touch devices. Chrome OS, which supports keyboard devices, is unrelated. It's an operating system largely targeted at netbooks and PCs. In time, the technologies will merge.
When an audience member asked about the transition from IPv4 to IPv6, the next generation of Internet protocol, Schmidt called it "one of the great urgent problems" the Internet world faces today. "The good news is the technology is there and works well," he says. "It's just a matter of making sure we do a number of these tests to ensure we get full IPv6 routing."
Schmidt also spoke about searches related to medical queries. Medical-related search queries on Google account for between 3% and 4% of searches. Google wants to automate services that would direct consumers to emergency telephone numbers or even make a call to an emergency service through Google Voice.
Acknowledging Wael Ghonim's social movement on Facebook and Twitter to express the voice of Egyptians, Schmidt told attendees it's the nature of collaborative technology that changes the power dynamic between governments and citizens.
He also acknowledged Bing as a formidable search competitor and thought Google should have inked the deal with Nokia, rather than Microsoft. "We would like [Nokia] to adopt Android at some point in the future, the offer remains open," he says. "We think Android is a good choice for Nokia, and we're sorry they made a different choice. We certainly tried."