Schmidt predicts entire world online by 2020. Is he right?

Google's executive chairman has made a bold prediction about the spread of the Internet. Do you think that prediction will come true?

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt speaking at Mobile World Congress in 2012 Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt predicted that the world's entire population will be on the Internet by 2020.

"For every person online, there are two who are not," Schmidt said on Google+ last night. "By the end of the decade, everyone on Earth will be connected."

Certainly the number of people online is expanding dramatically, in particular with the spread of mobile phones. But the entire world?

That's a bold claim, given persistent poverty in many parts of the world and the difficulty of bringing even wireless networking to large swaths of thinly populated areas.

Of course, Google stands to gain a lot with the spread of the Net, and it's working speed that spread with technology such as Android and Google Fiber. Google's search-ad business generates profits from a service that's free, a price that's awfully compelling to people on a tight budget.

Do you think Schmidt is right? Vote in the poll and share your comments.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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