Google VP: Young People Determine Future of the Internet

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Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf says more than one billion people worldwide use it, and he believes its future is in the hands of young people.

“If you really want to know what will happen with the Internet, ask a 13-year-old,” said Cerf, the vice president of Google. He was a keynote speaker Monday at the Upper Great Plains Technology Conference.

Cerf said applications for the Internet already have expanded far beyond what he imagined when he worked on its development 30 years ago. He cited Internet-activated picture frames that electronically rotate digital photos as one example.

Google announced Monday that it is buying video-sharing site YouTube for $1.65 billion in an all-stock deal, giving the Internet search leader a more prominent role in online video.

Monday’s trade show, featuring about 90 exhibitors ranging from software providers to colleges, highlighted the promise of technology.

“This new information technology revolution changes everything for North Dakota because we’re no longer far from markets,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., a sponsor of the conference.

“We’re a nanosecond away from anywhere in the world,” he said. “That means everything else is possible and new opportunities exist to bring new companies here, do new business here, create new technology here.”

Dorgan and others also were on hand for the grand opening of Alien Technology’s plant in Fargo.

Alien executive adviser Stav Prodromou, who recently was replaced as the California company’s chief executive officer, said that while the rate of growth for radio frequency identification technology is not as strong as some had hoped, “it’s still a very, very fast growing market.”

With new technology, Prodromou said, “We demonstrated a tag … being read over 100 feet away and being read from inside a bottle of water.

“Those two things are the kinds of things that people thought, even a year ago, were impossible,” he said. “If you can make the range longer, you improve the usability of RFID, and that makes it easier to track cattle, to track food supply, to track pharmaceuticals, to track defense supply as they move to the front, track retail and so on.”

Prodromou said Alien employs about 36 people in Fargo, and it will grow as the market demand increases.

Darlyne Leader, 78, of Fargo and DeLila Hirsch, 73, of Fessenden, were among those attending the conference.

“I also remember when the electric typewriter first came out. That was really a big thing. But it doesn’t compare with all the new technology today,” Leader said.

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