The scene was set: harbour views from the Sydney Opera House and Eric Schmidt , the Chairman and CEO of Google, was about to front the throng of media assembled.
What could Google possibly be announcing that would warrant the attention of the CEO?
Perth public transit timetabling coming to Google Transit, a partnership with Optus, and a movement of Google's Australian headquarters turned out to be the answer.
Quite underwhelming news for Builder AU readers and it seemed that Google Australia were scrambling for what to announce with Schmidt in town. New Google maps news? No. Android news? No. Better localisation of Google's services and APIs? Unfortunately, no.
Predictably the Q&A session was mostly taken up with everything else but the announcements. My journalist brethren were hellbent on asking how many people could fit into the new Googleplex in Pyrmont. Unfortunately we couldn't ask the more pressing question of whether there would be new caterers for Google employee's lunch.
Jokes jokes Joyce. Schmidt did have some interesting things to say:
- Google would be "relatively well positioned" with an economic downturn since advertising typically moves into "higher quality advertising".
"If you look historically at recessions, there tends to be good performance on direct marketing — which online pay per performance advertising is a successor to."
- The best way to avoid the stigma associated with Microsoft is to "not be like Microsoft". Schmidt said one of Google's key tenets was to not lock user data. If a user stop using a Google service, it should be easy to move to the new service.
- 97% of Google's revenue comes from text advertising.
- The benefits of cloud computing.
- Schmidt laid out the way Google deals with governments when they request user data. Look out for the video tomorrow.
- Unsurprisingly, Larry Page and Sergey Brin do whatever they want. This typically involves looking at employee's 20% own time projects for the next big thing.
Keep an eye out for our video coverage of the event in the coming days.
Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining the company as a programmer.Leaving CBS Interactive in 2010 to follow his deep desire to study the snowdrifts and culinary delights of Canada, Chris based himself in Vancouver and paid for his new snowboarding and poutine cravings as a programmer for a lifestyle gaming startup.Chris returns to CBS in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia determined to meld together his programming and journalistic tendencies once and for all.In his free time, Chris is often seen yelling at different operating systems for their own unique failures, avoiding the dreaded tech support calls from relatives, and conducting extensive studies of internets — he claims he once read an entire one.