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What Eric Schmidt meant when he said ‘the Internet will disappear’

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, speaks during the session at the World Economic Forum in  in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos on Thursday. (Photo by: Ruben Sprich/Reuters)

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt is making a lot of headlines Friday over a comment he made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"The Internet will disappear," Schmidt said during a panel discussion when asked for a prediction on the future of the Web.

It seems like a pretty provocative thing to say, especially from the chairman of one of the largest tech companies in the world. But, despite what your first reaction may be to that comment, Schmidt didn't mean that the Internet was going to end, or predict that we'll end up in a post-apocalyptic world where we'll need bow-and-arrow skills to survive.

Instead, he's saying that the Internet will be seamlessly integrated into our lives, by way of a lot of connected devices and sensors.

Per the Hollywood Reporter, this is how Schmidt elaborated on his comment: “It will be part of your presence all the time. Imagine you walk into a room, and the room is dynamic. And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room.”

That's definitely something that we've heard before, from a lot of people. The tech industry is heavily pushing users to embrace more connected devices -- think Google's own Nest smart thermostat, or the proliferation of smart clothing, accessories and appliances. Whether consumers are interested in all of them is a different matter, but there's no doubt there's a movement to get just about everything online.

And that's all Schmidt is saying here. It's not that the Internet is going away, just that it will quite literally be less visible. Eventually, you won't even think about whether you're on the Internet or not -- you'll just assume you are, all the time.