Tag Archives: Google

Technology, Economic Growth and Open Government

One of the great things about living in Washington DC is that you often get the chance to hear or meet important people of our time. Tuesday November 18, 2008, Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO talked at an event at the New America Foundation about what’s ahead on technology, economic growth and open government.


It was a pleasure for me to see the CEO of one of the icons of the tech industry. Eric Schmidt was passionate and knowledgeable, although he was not always structured in his way of presenting his points. However, I am still fascinated by the open source approach to technology and information which has been the driving force behind Google’s (and others’) success. And I share his fascination of the fact that lots of people have access to most of the information that is out there. And new technology (such as cell phones) will give even more people access to information – and more information will also be accessible in the coming years. What an opportunity for America –and for the rest of the world.


You can watch Eric Schmidt’s speech here.



Here’s a few of my notes and reflections from the meeting:


  • Communication in every ones hand is powerful. But we do not get it yet.
  • Openness: Anyone can play and that can drive the modern economy
  • That does not only apply to the tech industry, why not do the same with the energy sector?
  • Doesn’t matter how big you are, it is the service you offer that matter (remember the cartoon Nobody knows you are a dog)
  • Google products:
    • Flu Track (Check it, it is fascinating)
    • Book search
    • Future: a Google search can answer questions such as: what should I do this weekend?
  • Google’s Smart Energy Plan
    • Great initiative – for a company that praises innovation might come up with a new perspective.
    • I missed a point on who’s going to make the investment? And is the government the right decision-maker in this case? However, I am not sure the free market is either. Schmidt said we need balance between the market and the government. But how do we move on from here?
    • Not all the ideas are revolutionary such as adopting technologies and practices promoting energy efficiency for buildings, equipment, vehicles etc. But as long as it is not standard it does not matter. Just do it and give the citizens the incentives to invest in better solutions. (The Danish experience is that it works).
  • More public funding to education and research
  • Few political scandals this year
    • Because of “the policing of the internet” where everyone is tracking the truth
  • Better to have people with you than shot them out
  • Governments have not embraced the tools the citizens have such as blogs and YouTube.
  • Amazing that people are spending their free time when they get the chance to be involved.



Web 2.0 in Denmark

Our claim to fame in the Wild World of the Web is Skype, usability, and Lego Mindstorms. One of the inventors of Skype (using VoIP technology), Janus Friis is Danish. The usability guru Jacob Nielsen is also Danish, and Lego is based in Denmark. It is part of the Danish nationalism not to be nationalist but we are very proud when a Dane make to the world scene. It might be because we are such a small country. For those of you who have never heard about Denmark before it is a small country in the Northern part of Europe with a population of 5.4 million which is 1.1 percent of the EU population.



98% of the population can access broadband, and according to OECD Denmark is the leading country in the world in relation to broadband penetration.



Popular Websites

Just like in United States Google (one in English and one in Danish), YouTube, and Windows Live are popular Websites, but Facebook (number 5) is more popular than MySpace (number 14). Of the top 10 Websites only three sites are Danish. The social networking site for teenagers Arto (7), the public TV and radio broadcast station Danmark’s Radio (8), and the tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet (10).




For years, I have been wondering why blogging was not such a big thing in Denmark. New trends cross over, but it seemed to me that blogging, especially corporate and political blogging, took forever to take off. Apparently, the Danish political culture is less “conductive to the openness required in a successful blog” (Naked Conversations, 2006, p.115). Following the current US presidential election on TV, blogs, in papers, and from time to time in town hall meetings, I have experienced a vivid and emotional American political culture where individuals are not afraid of expressing thoughts about political issues. I think it is especially the emotional debate that I am not used to.


Living abroad for almost two years now, I have only followed the news and trends in the communications industry in headlines. I asked my female network Nina B a few months ago what blogs they are reading – and no one responded. I guess they were all busy – because seeing the boom in the Danish blogosphere means that they have to read blogs like here, here or here (Sorry they are in Danish. They are about politics and blogging). A few weeks ago blog number 100,000 was registered.


The big blogging thing last year was a boom in political blogging. The Prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and most of the party leaders blogged during the three-week-campaign. Interestingly, some of the politicians do not think they have to blog between elections. The leader of the Social Democrats, Helle Thorning-Schmidt did not blog for two months but she started blogging again after a communications expert criticized her in Politiken (one of the leading newspapers in Denmark).


During the campaing the prime minister invited voters to join him running around the lakes in Copenhagen. 500 people joined him. Another political leader – Naser Khader used twitter, but it did not make a big difference because his campaign was a flop.  



The e2012-goal

The Danish government has a goal of becoming a digital administration by 2012 making it a lot easier for the citizens to access the relevant authorities. Furthermore, it is the ambition that all written communication between citizens or private companies and the public sector will be digital. The Ministry of Finance and The National IT- and Telecom Agency are working to provide better, more cohesive and efficient digital services on http://www.borger.dk. They are working on version 2 right now including a “My Page” where the user can access personal data and digital letters. Furthermore, more services and information will be available at the same site: income taxes, job search services, social security benefits, car registration, application for building permission, declaration to police, public libraries, enrolment for higher education, announcement of moving, and health-related services. Finally, the government got it! The idea is good – but I guess it is hard to implement it across various government levels. However, to become a Web 2.0 administration they have to work harder of the tools facilitating political conversations. The online debate is more or less non-existent.




Netbanking has nothing to do with Web 2.0. But I just want to mention it briefly because I was in chock when I moved to the US and I had to use checks. I had never written a check in order to pay a bill. I had just used my Net Bank. Danish banks were frontrunners in developing a secure net banking system. Already before net banking Denmark had a similar system called giro where each company had an identification number and each bill had an identification number which made the system secure


Hot Trends from Google

These snapshots of Google Trends are examples of the Database of Intentions. The trends discover the intentions of the human beings and their desires, needs, or wants.

As I expected the McCain story and the shooting of the spy satellite are among the top searchs. I notice that Lake Erie is back on the list again. And I have to check out what´s going on in Mehlville. The hot trends this morning:


larry davis
2. vicki iseman
3. anthony anderson
4. uss lake erie
5. devon townsend
6. talinda bentley
7. sm 3 missile
8. hydrazine fuel
9. mehlville school district
10. natasha sizow

I wrote this last night – but for whatever reason I could not publish it;  

It is fascinating with all the different things the users of Google are searching for. I guess the searchers are just as curious as I am. (But I wonder why people search for love and happiness…..) Well, did McCain have an affair with Vicki Iseman? We will see where that story will go tomorrow online and offline!  

1. vicki iseman
2. lunar eclipse
3. jesus rey david alfaro
4. solar eclipse
5. lunar eclipse february 20 2008
6. gene simmons sex tape
7. le tourment vert
8. genesseret.com
9. eclipse tonight
10. mccain affair

Today´s Hot Trends from Google

I have been offline for some days so I have not checked the hot trends on Google as part of my little research study. Today, the Wisconsin primary ranks high and even twice on the list but love and happiness are still on the list.   

Today’s Hot Trends   (USA)


so happy together

  2. greek word for city

  3. one is the loneliest number

  4. robbie carrico

  5. wisconsin primary results


  6. lunar eclipse

  7. i love you more today than yesterday

  8. wisconsin exit polls

  9. transporter 2

10. moon river

Don’t be evil

I cannot let Google go and have a few more thoughts.
Thank you, Rosie (The Third) for your comment. You are right – we have to trust Google not to do evil things. My impression is like yours that the Brin and Page are aware of the implications of their business and its impact on our society, culture, and life. Their answer to this seems to be the Google truth number one:
“Don’t be evil’.  But how do we define what is evil? I remember reading the story about the shoemaker that Battelle mentions in his book “The Search” in Financial Times a few years ago on a plane to Rome. It made a huge impression. Was Google evil? Google changed some of the algorithms in the search engine and the shoemaker was not among the search results and he lost his business. The shoemaker obviously thinks Google is evil, but I guess Google just improved the search engine for the sake of millions others.  I am really fascinated by Google’s un-conventional business strategy that is also their brand. Don’t be evil and “you can be serious without a suit” are cool truths in the Google world. On the other hand it is odd for a dominating company not to be motivated by money. Is the Chinese market really only interesting because Google can disseminate information and thereby execute its mission and do good? (Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful). Is it a bottom-up approach to create democracy in Communist China? Or is it worth going there because China is the fastest growing e-market right now? No matter what Google is what Barack Obama is for politics these days: the new big thing.  To me Google is the new big thing. Of course I have used a few Google tools like Search engine and IGoogle. During the last month I have added GoogleReader to my daily life. I have just downloaded GoogleEarth (I have checked it out a few years ago but my work computer broke down…and I had to delete it again), and yeh I have seen my house north of Copenhagen. (Have not lived there for a year and a half and I am happy to see that it is still there and the woman who is renting it is taking good care of it. I know – the picture is old because the garden is green).  Now I will also add Google Trends and Zeitgeist.  The Hot Trend today is of course Valentine:

Today’s Hot Trends   (USA)

  1. richard lewis

  2. hallmark.com

  3. free ecards

  4. hoops and yoyo

  5. jane fonda today show


  6. hallmark e cards

  7. someecards

  8. some ecards

  9. history of valentines day

10. dayspring

       More Hot Trends »

  I will take a look at the trend once a day for the next week and see what I can get from that. But I have noticed that not one presidential candidate is listed!