SEOUL (AFP) — Soaring oil prices are hitting the world economy but could prove a boon for the Internet, the vice president of Google said Wednesday.
"Although I'm not happy with increased oil prices, the Internet (industry) may actually benefit from that as people turn to it as an aid to improve their efficiency," said Vinton Cerf.
Cerf is in South Korea for a ministerial meeting on the future of the Internet economy called by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
"We may turn increasingly to video conferencing or other kinds of electronic media in order to avoid having to travel," the vice president of the world's largest search engine told a press conference.
Cerf, quoted by Yonhap news agency, also said there may be more use of "computational capabilities" to calculate optimum car and aircraft routes and save on fuel.
"It (high oil prices) may have a positive impact on the Internet," he said.
Cerf, often described as the father of the Internet, joined Google in 2005 as a vice president and "chief Internet evangelist".
Asked about Google's advertisement deal with Yahoo! last week, he said his company sees it as beneficial to assist Yahoo! with "an experiment."
"This is a non-exclusive arrangement to allow Yahoo! to use some of our advertising capability to see whether it makes a significant difference to them as they seek...to make themselves a more profitable company."
He also described South Korea as possibly having "the biggest concentration of high-speed mobile capacity from anywhere else in the world."
"This is why Google is so interested in being here in Korea because you represent an opportunity to experiment with very advanced mobile technology unlike anywhere else in the world," he said.
Google launched its Korean operation in 2004 but has been struggling to increase its presence against homegrown giants that dominate the market.
A report released at the meeting showed South Korea ranked first in terms of household access to the Internet among OECD member nations.
It said 94 percent of households had Internet access, compared with an average 58 percent among the 31 OECD members, which include Japan, the United States and Britain.
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