A summer on a secluded alp – no phone, no tablet, no laptop, no Wi-Fi: dream or nightmare?
Reality. My wife and I make sure that our children and we ourselves stick to clearly defined principles in the way we go about dealing with all modern media. Of course, media competence is very important to me. Nonetheless, personal – and with that, I mean face-to-face – interaction with other people remains central to one’s satisfaction and success, both in private and business life.
Do you still google? If so, what?
Sure, in fact often. The search for relevant information never ends, and learning is a lifelong undertaking. A robust search engine identifies the relevant links. Most of my queries are about practical matters such as public transportation schedules, opening hours, the availability of products – stuff like that. But for me, the most helpful hits are “how-to” videos.
Why has mankind gone digital? Is digitalisation a modern-day form of evolution?
Man hasn’t “gone” digital – things have become digital. Digitalisation aids people in their everyday lives. Take the smartphone: it saves time. It helps me to communicate, get my bearings and transact. It also lets me capture beautiful moments with photos as well as enjoy music and videos. But of course, we have to ensure that security, transparency and control remain 100 per cent in our own hands. We decide what we use, as well as when and how we use it. And it’s easy: every registered googler can specify their own personal settings in “Google: My Account”.
“I’m worried about people who either categorically spurn digitalisation like the devil shuns holy water, or view it completely in good faith.”
In business, “digitalised” means being (even more) customer-oriented or (even more) user-friendly. What does it mean in private life?
Digitalisation needs to provide added value, also in the private realm. By performing routine tasks, it gives people time for more important things in life.
With today’s digital transformation, you’re helping people to shape their future in a more positive way. But to what extent?
We’re driving digital change very directly, right to your home: for instance, with accurate search results, the public transport info and bike paths displayed in Google Maps, a highly secure browser, powerful filters to protect against spam in Gmail, and Android as a stable operating system for mobile phones – to name just a few ways. And indirectly, we drive digital transformation by offering useful tools and free training for companies. One example: many SMEs are asking us how they can optimise their websites for viewing and use on smartphones; or they want to be found more immediately, win new customers, or explain their products and services more effectively through the use of videos.
In Zurich, Google has built up its largest development centre outside the USA. Why here?
Google invests in innovation. And in accomplishing this, we’re dependent on the top-quality work of highly trained individuals. With its strengths, Switzerland in many ways meshes with Google’s success factors. This “love story” has been going on since 2004. Switzerland also stands for staunch values, language diversity, culture, export orientation and stability. All of these factors form an excellent foundation for globally exported software, “made in Switzerland”.