Google CEO Eric Schmidt this week said that his company would develop "autonomous search," in which the service will conduct searches on behalf of users without first being asked. He described this future product as a "serendipity engine" that would build "an augmented version of humanity."
I'll wait while you check the calendar. No, it's not April 1.
Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco Tuesday, Schmidt said that Google is driving toward a "symbiotic relationship" between humans and computers, where computing devices and services would intelligently gauge the user's location and needs and search accordingly, without typing, and without first being asked. This work would lead to improvements in both humans and computer systems, he said, because it would help each become good at things they're not currently good at.
Other tidbits from the CEO of the world's most powerful online company: You'll never be bored in the future because Google Search will always be there to suggest fun things to do. (Ignore that Schmidt previously said that ready access to instant information was harming our cognitive capabilities.) Computers—not people—should be driving cars. (Because computers, which are designed by people, never make mistakes.) Google is more open than Apple, thus Google is fundamentally a better company. (Not "open," mind you. Just "more open.") And Google is working toward a future that empowers average people, not just the "elites." (Because white-coated lab people dominate computing today.)
All of which leads me to believe that Eric Schmidt is, in fact, a robot tasked with constructing the SkyNet network that destroyed humanity in the Terminator movies. The evidence is almost overwhelming.
Around the tech world, however, reaction to Schmidt's talk ranged from bemused to downright hostile. CNET's Tom Krazit, for example, suggested that Schmidt "tone down the tech-utopia talk" and that he is "freaking some people out ... evangelizing a future that de-emphasizes the role of people in their day-to-day lives."
And if I could just pour cold water on all this feel-good rah-rah stuff, remember that Google pocketed nearly $25 billion over the past year almost solely through advertisements tied to its dominant search engine. That's what really drives Google. A company that is clearly led by a robot CEO.