Google CEO Eric Schmidt put mobile at the heart of the Internet giant’s future in a special keynote  at Congress late this afternoon.

Schmidt outlined how Google’s top programmers were now concentrating on mobile as their primary focus; he also pointed to recent acquisitions in the mobile space, notably AdMob. 

Unveiling a new Google mantra – ‘Mobile First’ – Schmidt proclaimed that three unique areas had now converged on the mobile device: computing power, interconnectivity and the cloud: “The phone is where these three all interconnect  and you need to get these three waves right if you want to win.” He highlighted Internet phenomenons such as Spotify, Facebook – and Google itself – as leading the cloud concept across both fixed and mobile. “If you don’t use the power of the cloud you will fail,” he said.

He added that in places such as Indonesia and South Africa Google was now seeing more searches on mobile than via the desktop.

Google programmers joining Schmidt on stage demonstrated the firm’s latest developments, including efforts to merge its speech and image recognition technology; the firm impressed with a preview of an optical character recognition (OCR) tool that was able to recognise and translate a picture of a German menu into English. Google announced that German has now been added to its speech system as its fourth language.

Schmidt also provided an update on Google’s Android platform, which he said was now running across 26 different devices. He said that Android handset vendors were selling  more than 60,000 per day, a figure that has doubled over the last quarter. During an Android demonstration, Google’s Eric Tseng announced that the platform now supports Flash – the full Flash version (10.1) rather than Flash Lite – allowing gaming and movies over handsets. The announcement will give Android devices an advantage over Apple’s iPhone, which does not support the technology.

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