Miriam Meckel, editor-in-chief of WirtschaftsWoche, is joined by Google’s Philipp Schindler discussing one of the key questions of the conference: What’s next?
After a short catch-up – Miriam Meckel and Philipp Schindler have met before in 2007 – Miriam starts her fantastic line-up of questions to Google’s CBO by addressing the company’s relationship with publishers and citing a new Edelman study that says people trust Google news more than the one from traditional media. So Google is perceived as a media company, but not treated as one.
While Philipp understands the concerns, he says Google definitely does not want to be a media company: "We still define ourselves as a technology company." He admits that they have not always been so good in bringing their actual aims across, but they have a keen interest in building partnerships with publishers. Google is trying to create an ecosystem together with media companies to help them in the transition to the digital world. One example is the "Accelerated Mobile Pages" initiative to support publishers in serving their mobile content faster so that they can better compete with their digitally native counterparts.
The ABC of Innovation
Google recently created the Alphabet holding. The so-called moonshot projects have been transferred there. Is that a sign of weakening or strengthening innovation?
"It's neither strengthening nor weakening", Philipp explains. "It's about diversification." There are a lot of innovative projects in alphabet, life science projects as well as activities around Project Loon or self-driving cars, for instance. However, a lot of innovation is still happening at the core of Google, new developments in the fields of machine learning, for example. They just refocussed on the digital for the core company.
Is Artificial Intelligence the new digital?
Machine learning is not that new, Philipp notes. It has been around since the 1950s. However, it is just now that we see a lot of interesting applications you can do things with that seem magical. Philipp talks about how Google Photo can tag your images automatically. It cannot only recognize locations, persons or animals, but also the activity captured – people hugging, for instance.
Miriam asks about privacy. "We are deeply aware of the privacy concerns especially in Germany", Philipp states, "but you cannot slow down innovation because of privacy issues." Google tries to be as transparent as possible and to give users more control, he adds. When developing a product you need to be aware of the implications it will have on privacy and reflect upon how to deal with it.
Miriam closes the talk with a little challenge, two questions that Philipp should respond to in 5 words. What will Google do next? "Better partnerships with more companies."What will Philipp Schindler do next? "Worry about our competition anywhere."