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Q&A: Vint Cerf on Google's challenges, aspirations

He also explained why 'mashups' are a good thing

By Juan Carlos Perez
November 25, 2005 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Internet pioneer Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, recently chatted with IDG News Service about a variety of topics related to the Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant. Cerf, considered one of the fathers of the Internet for his work as co-designer of TCP/IP, talked about Google's current challenges, the "mashups" phenomenon of creating new applications by blending data and tools from multiple Web sites, the Google Book Search controversy and the company's aspirations in the enterprise space.
Excerpts from that interview follow:

As Google broadens its menu of services beyond search to areas such as blogging, Web mail, Wi-Fi access, instant messaging and social networking, does it run the risk of losing its focus? Absolutely not. What's happening here is the aggregation of a remarkable collection of people, all of whom have a very visceral and strong appreciation for what is possible to do with software and information. And they are exploring a variety of ways in which to make these computer-driven tools more useful and also more cross-functional. The focus isn't simply on search. The focus is on making information discoverable and useful, so all of these things you see happening at Google are side effects of expanding on the original paradigm, which was making search an effective tool. Now we're looking at how to make other information activities more effective and relevant.
Is it a good strategy for Google to be in the enterprise-search market with products such as the Search Appliance and the Google Mini? Yes, I'm very excited about the packaging up of Google's capabilities in a way that can be delivered to an enterprise. The opportunity there is to deliver this capability to a fairly broad range of enterprises from very small to very large. The ability to help people organize information, especially unstructured information, is a very powerful tool -- and our ability to package that up and deliver it to an enterprise is going to be very well received. I'm excited about it because it takes what we learned in the general Web space and allows us to apply it to corporate information.
What do you make of the mashups phenomenon? I can't tell you how excited I am about it. We know we don't have a corner on creativity. There are creative people all around the world, hundreds of millions of them, and they are going to think of things to do with our basic platform that we didn't think of. So the mashup stuff is a wonderful way of allowing people to find new ways

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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