The Orion Keynote Panel, “Technical & Information Giants”, touched on fairly broad topic areas this afternoon at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose.
Speakers included Matt Cutts  (Google Engineer), Rich LeFurgy (Partner, Archer Advisors ), Kirsten Mangers (Co-Founder & CEO, WebVisible ), Robert Scoble  (Managing Director, FastCompany.TV), Danny Sullivan (Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land ), and Tim Westergren  (Founder, Pandora).
Conference Chair and moderator, Kevin Ryan , framed up the introduction to the panel by using numerous pop culture video snippets to emphasize the impact of Google, social media, and the overall internet on everyday lives. Some of the funnier snippets included quotes from South Park and Californication.
Moderators Kevin Ryan and Mike Grehan  engaged the panel speakers on topics as diverse as whether it was reasonable to consider the possibilities of a “Google Killer” in the near-term, and what were the trends to watch for in search and internet/mobile app development.
One particular topic of interest to me that panelists highlighted was local search and how mobile still hasn’t “arrived”. Danny Sullivan noted that each year for a few in a row now, Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, has stated that “THIS will be the year mobile arrives…” (my emphasis), but mobile still hasn’t really arrived.
Also, Robert Scoble joked about how he loved his iPhone, but “it doesn’t do everything well”, so he carries two other phones — and will likely start carrying a fourth when Google’s Android phone comes out. A number of panelists commented about how entertainingly compelling the iPhone Urbanspoon application is — it certainly has some coolness, but I wonder how widely it’s adopted? Kirsten Mangers commented about how it ranks restaurants and whether it gives users what they’re really wanting.
The commentary on the Urbanspoon has been recurring from a number of top internet commentators, so it’s definitely one hot app to watch.