"All of these distinctions will completely go away," he said. "We're not trying to design the future. We're trying to invent it along the way ... This is about inventing the future, and we score ourselves based on whether our customers like it."
Teens today consume information much differently on the Web and are able to juggle various forms of information seamlessly, he said. Streams of information will increase as connections grow faster, and if Web surfers feel as though they are drowning in information, it is because a fundamental shift is occurring to user-generated content. The success of sites such as Facebook and Twitter are examples of this shift, he said.
"You will tend to listen to other people," he said.
The problem, of course, is how to organize all the information, he said. It is the fundamental problem facing Google, a company offering many products but built on a Web search engine that trolls for information, gathers it and ranks it for users. Schmidt asked rhetorically how, for instance, Google might be able to rank a user's individual tweets.
Schmidt spoke at the Gartner Symposium/Itxpo at the Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan Hotel. The four-day conference ends Thursday.