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Google chief rues social media oversight

John Murray

Speaking to Bloomburg TV at the end of December, Google chairman Eric Schmidt admitted that he regrets his company’s failure to anticipate the rapid rise  of social media.

Blaming himself for not picking up on the potential power of sites like Facebook and Twitter, the 58-year-old search engine supremo said:

“The biggest mistake that I made was not anticipating the rise of the social networking phenomenon. Not a mistake we’re going to make again. I guess in our defense we were busy working on many other things, but we should have been in that area and I take responsibility for that.”

Google was undoubtedly a latecomer to the social network scene, not setting up Google+ until 2011. While it is beginning to rival the sites at the forefront of networking and is becoming a crucial arm of any business’ online presence, competitors like LinkedIn (which was launched in 2003), Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006) gained a head-start of several years on the search engine giant.

Schmidt made the comment as part of a series of predictions on the likely patterns of social media during 2014, some of which can be seen on a YouTube video uploaded by Bloomberg on December 29.

He boldly predicts that this will be the year in which “everyone is going to have a smartphone”, and points out that PC sales are now being dwarfed by those of mobile devices, indicating that the shift in data presentation has already moved firmly in the direction of mobile.

For companies looking to make the most of their online representation, such a move is only likely to increase the need to have websites that are fully optimised for mobile, and for their content to be easily readable via both desktop and mobile devices.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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