Google Seeks “Total Information”

    May 23, 2007

Google’s a perfectly good search engine, but how well would it function as some sort of omniscient life coach?  I don’t know – and I’m not sure I want to find out – but we may see it assume that role; Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said his company might be able to give extremely personalized tips and answers within the next five or so years.

Of course, to do that, the company will need more data, and according to Schmidt, “We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you.  That is the most important aspect of Google’s expansion.” 

Then, as reported by Caroline Daniel and Maija Palmer of the Financial Times, a sinister term came up.  “We are very early in the total information we have within Google,” the company’s CEO stated (italics mine).  “The algorithms will get better and we will get better at personalisation.”

At this point, we have an image of Google sitting in Mountain View with an unnerving amount of information.  But that is, of course, not enough – the omniscient search engine intends to put that information to use.  “The goal,” said Schmidt, “is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’”

It’s been a running joke to some, and a longstanding threat to others, that Google could take over the world.  Schmidt still describes his company’s intentions in terms of benevolent acts, but those comments kind of drive the domination-related point home.