It's no understatement to say that Google's former CEO Eric Schmidt is quite outspoken. His "talk first, think later" approach has a tendency of providing some great soundbites for the media.
This time, it's not an impromptu interview providing the interesting opinion. The Wall Street Journal has obtained some excerpts from Schmidt's upcoming book, "The New Digital Age." One of those excerpts clearly spells out where Google is heading in the future:
“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”
When Google introduced authorship markup in 2011, Google did note that they were "looking closely at ways this markup could help us highlight authors and rank search results."
Now Schmidt has made it explicit: in the future, you can boost your rankings by using Google authorship, and as we've reported before, Google+ has been designed to be an identity verification network.
But Schmidt doesn't stop there. He essentially predicts that privacy will cease to exist online. Governments, he says, will find it "too risky" to have thousands of citizens "anonymous, untraceable and unverified" online, suggesting they will want to require verification of all online accounts at some level of government.
As all this new online identity reform frames place, more and more privacy and user security issues will begin to arise. Schmidt postulates that tech companies will have to start investing in bigger and stronger legal departments to litigate all the lawsuits that are sure to arise over protection of information and intellectual property.
Is this the world we are to look forward to? I remember reading Bill Gates' "The Road Ahead" may years ago. I'm it, he spoke of technology bettering our lives with ideas like automatic climate control as we walk onto a room and other cool things.
In Schmidt's view of the future, we will have full wash to wear clothing cleaning machines reminiscent of "The Jetsons" that will also pick our outfits for us, based on our schedule. That concept takes Google Now to a whole new level.
Aside from that, the rest of Schmidt's predictions seem bleak and full of moral issues.
The book, co-written with Google Ideas chief Jared Cohen, is due out in April. Will you buy it? Is this book all about the hype or an accurate description of where's the world and Google are heading? Leave your thoughts on the comments below.
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