, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 3, 2012

Google exec brings Port up to speed

NEWBURYPORT — Google executive Steve Vinter believes that speeding up the Internet is one of the priorities of his precedent-setting company.

But his message yesterday to members of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry also referenced speed in a different context.

Online activity is changing business and personal lives so rapidly that consumers won't have to carry wallets or remember phone numbers in the near future, he said. Everything they "need" will reside on a smartphone and be accessible through cloud computing.

Vinter, an engineer and business executive, leads the regional office of Google, based in Cambridge. He joined the company in 2007, three years after it went public. Since that time, his office has grown from 50 to 350 employees, and the technology itself has become part of the lives of most adults and students.

Google is one of the fastest-growing companies ever: Yesterday, its stock was valued at $585 per share for a market capitalization of $190 billion.

Perhaps because of the pervasive influence of the company, a capacity crowd of 90 was present at the Phoenix Room in downtown Newburyport to hear the energetic spokesman talk about his company and its future.

Vinter said that faster access makes for happier customers, and Google's countless number of engineers are trying to increase speed in accessing information.

He said everything from making airline reservations to downloading YouTube files is getting faster, in part because of Google.

Vinter, who holds a doctorate in computer science from UMass Amherst, said a major change in computers is emerging in the form of cloud computing. The technology permits data and applications to reside on accessible databases "out there," rather than on a software application on a computer desktop.

Technology like cloud computing is permitting smartphones with multiple applications to emerge as mobile devices capable of replacing some of society's most familiar calling cards.

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