Schmidt Calls Twitter 'Poor Man's Email,' Says Mobile Will Eclipse PC Search

It's been widely reported now that Google CEO Eric Schmidt characterized Twitter -- now frequently discussed as a "threat to Google" -- as a "poor man's email" system. He made those remarks apparently during the recent Morgan Stanley technology conference. Juicy as that sound bite is, as supposed psychological evidence of the legitimacy of the threat, Schmidt's comments are unfairly being taken out of context.

Silicion Alley Insider (now Business Insider) has more context for Schmidt's remarks:

"In other words, they have aspects of an email system, but they don't have a full offering. To me, the question about companies like Twitter is: Do they fundamentally evolve as sort of a note phenomenon, or do they fundamentally evolve to have storage, revocation, identity, and all the other aspects that traditional email systems have? Or do email systems themselves broaden what they do to take on some of that characteristic?

Google initially didn't "get" the rise of social networking, reportedly passing on MySpace for $280 million before News Corp. spent twice that much. Maybe Schmidt is speaking (and thinking) about Twitter too technically and isn't focused on Twitter's value to people: it's immediacy.

Another juicy Schmidt quote, from our point of view, coming out of that same Morgan Stanley speech is the prediction that mobile search volumes will eclipse PC-based search in years, "not decades." Indeed, we agree.

Our research has reflected growing search volumes and levels of engagement that are far in excess of the 9-10 average mobile searches per month figure that's been attributed to the MMA and that Nielsen reported six or so months ago. 

In developing countries that day will come much sooner. In the US, UK and other parts of Europe it may take 7-10 years but it is inevitable.