Your World is About to Change – Google and Augmentative Computing

The past two have been very interesting if you follow the technical goings on at Google.  In no particular order, they have released, at least in beta format:

  • Google Chromium OS – the Google operating system which offers about all the functionality most folks would require to surf the web, get email, write basic docs, etc.
  • Google Goggles – a system that allows your Android based phone *(Android is their mobile phone os) to use it’s camera to identify via search people, places and things.  All you do is open the Goggle app, point your camera at something and it can tell you what it is.  Think facial recognition for your phone, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.  You might also use this as the start of a query, such as point at a product and then request “nearest vendor”.
  • Google Translation and YouTube Closed Captioning working together – in essence they have the technology to do to do a similar presentation as Goggles that would act as a real time live translator via the camera phone.
  • They have enhanced the predictive results produced by Google Suggest when you start typing in to the Google search box.
  • They have enhanced the command line capabilities of the Google search box – try entering an airline flight number or weather new york and see what happens.
  • Establishment of the Data Liberation Front within Google to ensure all data contained in Google applications is easily portable.

There’s been a lot off hot air generated on each of these topics, along with prognostications that Google is getting ready to take on Microsoft, particularly when it comes to the browser.  I don’t believe this is the case.  I think Google isn’t looking to compete head on head with anyone, it is my supposition that they are in fact trying to make a quantum leap ahead of everyone.

What I see is a company that is:

  • Carefully pre-positioning themselves against anti-trust legislation, both in the US and in the EU by avoiding the traps MS fell into in the past.  Hence Data Liberation and their development of apps vs. including some of their developments as features in their OS.
  • Attempting to keep their system interfaces as stripped down and command line like as possible.
  • Producing real time use type applications.

To my mind, they are setting themselves up to enable voice based OS navigation.  If it’s command line interaction, the technology exists to allow that interaction to happen via voice.  Then throw in vision based search, such as Goggles, or tie in on the fly translation via the phones microphone, and you’ve reached a new level of computing. Think augmentative computation, where your actually getting real time data from that little computer in your pocket.

When that happens, everything in our lives will change.

2 Replies to “Your World is About to Change – Google and Augmentative Computing”

  1. Nice article. I’ve got ChromeOS running on the netbook, switched to Chrome as my default browser on the laptop, messed with translation on and CC on YouTube. And as soon as I’m eligible for my “new every two” I’m getting some sort of Andriod phone (oh yeah, even had the netbook boot Android once.) So, yeah, I loves me some Google.

    Since I got my first Palm Pilot with Graffiti for entering text I’ve said the person who replaces the keyboard will be a billionaire.

    I thought the Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard CL850 Projection Keyboard Celluon Laserkey looked promising if they could eventually embed it within a device, but apparently it doesn’t work too well.

    The little rollup and foldable keyboards are ok. I managed to pick up a Palm Bluetooth keyboard for $10, but it just doesn’t keep up with touch typing and it’s just another thing you have to carry. Keyboards are the only thing keeping netbooks from getting smaller – well, along with needing a usable screen size.

    My mother-in-law just got an iPod Touch. My wife was asking what that was. I told her it was an iPhone without the phone or basically her netbook without a keyboard. But the on-screen keyboard doesn’t cut it for a lot of people too.

    If Google can get voice to work reliably I’m on board with that.

    BTW Love the FSM Google logo

  2. I have seen voice work reliably, but not in Google. The tech does exist to make it work.

    I didn’t think anyone would figure out the logo. +10 points.

    My wife is better using my Iphone that the computer…for her it’s the perfect device, but the price is too steep for me to buy her one.

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