Chad Hurley, Craig Mundie, and Mark Zuckerberg Talk Mobile At Davos (Updated With Video)

Today at Davos, Mike just finished moderating a panel on the Next Digital Experience with Chad Hurley (YouTube), Craig Mundie (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Shananu Narayen (Adobe), Hamid Akhvan (T-Mobile) and Eric Clemons (Wharton). I will put up the video as soon as it is available.

The wide-ranging discussion focused on how the mobile Web is becoming increasingly important, and in many countries, the primary way people connect to the Internet. A good chunk of the panel was spent talking about the implications of sharing where you are and what you are doing all the time because mobile phones make it easier to do so. Chad Hurley noted that the rate at which YouTube is serving videos to mobile devices is growing at a faster rate than the site as a whole. Mike asked Chad Hurley how long would it be before people started using their mobile phones to upload videos to YouTube in a serious way. Hurley’s response:

It is available on some devices, but mostly you still have to connect to your computer to upload. But it will become a larger part of what we show. People on the street, sharing their thoughts and experiences.

For Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg agrees, mobile access to the Internet simply makes it easier for people to share information. Speaking like a true technologist, he thinks this is good because it will make society more efficient:

People are becoming comfortable sharing more and more because it is valuable. By sharing where you are at a certain time you might make it so you can meet up with people who are around you or get advice on what to do. This happened to me in New York before I came to Davos. I didn’t realize it was one of my friend’s birthdays. It is really useful, it creates a lot of efficiency within society. We want to push people to share more and more information, because we think people will evolve to use more and more of these [services], which is why we want to go to mobile.

There are, of course, huge privacy concerns here which every company making a push into mobile needs to be careful about, but the bigger issues the panelists agreed are simply technical. There are too many mobile devices to support. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued that the primitive state of the technology is holding companies back more than the privacy issues, which he thinks are manageable if you let users control who sees what. Says Zuckerberg:

The platforms aren’t there yet. With all the mobile platforms—iPhone, Blackbery, Android, the mobile web—it is difficult to develop for all of them. When the number of platforms consolidate it will become a powerful thing. And when GPS becomes more available in phones. It is not the privacy issue.

Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer agrees “what people need is notice and choice.” He also thinks that the bigger barrier to making the mobile Web more like the one on our OCs is technical right now

You are too early in the cycle. No uniform way to get at those capabilities even within the devices. As people who write the apps will exploit it more. When there were few cameras in phones there was little photo integration. Now you can click the photo and move it to an app in a few button pushes. It is just a matter of evolution.