Google CEO: Web Apps Will Eventually Rival iPad Apps

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt

Browser-based Web apps will rival the power of today’s iPad apps in the next few years, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt. In an interview with Charlie Rose (posted on Fortune), Mr. Schmidt said that it won’t be long before developers are able to use open technologies to produce apps that are as powerful and beautiful as iPad apps are today.

“iPad apps are beautiful but highly restrictive,” Mr. Schmidt said. “They’re written in a specific programming language; they’re not Web applications. Over the next few years it should be possible using so-called open technologies to build apps as powerful as those on the iPad but do them on the Web, which means they’ll run everywhere.”

When asked when that day would arrive, he said that, “the technology is there, and people are developing it.” He added that looking back on history that, “I the Internet, openness has always won. I cannot imagine that the current competitive environment would reverse that.”

This is a direct reference to Apple’s Whole Widget model, where Apple makes the hardware and the software, and exerts strong controls over its platform.

“The iPhone established a whole new category,” he said, “but…the Apple model is closed. Same hardware, same applications, same store—a so-called vertical stack. All the other vendors want an alternative, and Apple is not going to give it to them.”

Mr. Schmidt appears to be suggesting that Apple’s iOS platform will not be able to compete with the open source Android platform over time.

In another part of this interview, Mr. Schmidt told Charlie Rose that Google is simply trying to make people into better people through the power of information.

“There’s such an overwhelming amount of information now,” he said. “We can search where you are, see what you’re looking at if you take a picture with your camera. One way to think about this is, we’re trying to make people better people, literally give them better ideas—augmenting their experience. Think of it as augmented humanity.”

That’s right: Using Google makes you a better person. For instance, try Googling hubris.