Google CEO Touts Customized News Delivery

Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Tuesday talked up a concept he called “Entertain Me,” whereby mobile phones will deliver news and historical information based on precise geographical location, such as which building a user happens to be entering.

He unveiled his vague notion of “Entertain Me” while addressing the Newspaper Association of America at its annual convention in San Diego.

Schmidt’s vision includes a bunch of real-time “mood mapping,” a fancy term for users who constantly share their opinions and emotions with friends via Internet connections.

Schmidt envisions rock bands incorporating streaming video taken by fans in real time during concerts and audiences Twittering each other during movies.

Mostly, though, he stuck to the topic at hand: newspapers. And his remarks came one day after the Associated Press complained about search engines and portals benefiting unfairly from its content.

Schmidt dismissed such concerns by noting that Google has a multimillion-dollar deal with the AP.

He began his presentation by expressing admiration for newspapers: “Without freedom of speech and without newspapers that make us understand what’s really going on, none of the great things that has happened in the last 200 years in America would have occurred.”

But newspapers and magazines are much better offline than online, he said, so the print industry needs to innovate to improve not only the online product but also its ability to profit from the Internet, including concepts of “fair use” and “partially thought-through legal systems.”

“I would encourage everybody (to) think in terms of what your reader wants,” he said. “These are ultimately consumer businesses, and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more.”

With the Internet, scarcity of information is a thing of the past, so newspapers must learn how to make money in an environment of ubiquitous news flow and channels.

Advertising, therefore, needs to be ever-more immersive and targeted because online advertising is where the real money is while Internet subscriptions and micropayments are side shows, he said.