Here’s a quick look at everything else Google related that’s caught my eye over the past week:
1. Don’t Call It A Comeback
I thought that Google Glass was going to be the best thing ever. Instead thanks to privacy concerns, poor design, a negative social stigma, and Glassholes it went the way of the Segway and became a punch line. Google was not prepared to give up on their augmented reality dream though so even though Glass was down it was never really out. Now it’s poised to make a comeback thanks to some behind the scenes maneuvering.
As Tech Radar reports, “Glass is being overseen by a new strategist at the company, Nest CEO Tony Fadell, ‘to make it ready for users,’ [Eric] Schmidt said. He told The Wall Street Journal, ‘It is a big and very fundamental platform for Google. We ended the Explorer program and the press conflated this into us cancelling the whole project, which isn’t true.’ He also compared the project to another Google project claiming it’s ‘like saying the self-driving car is a disappointment because it’s not driving me around now. These things take time.'”
2. The Future Of Search
Google Now, Google’s attempt at predictive search was a cool feature that could cross reference everything it knew about you to provide useful tidbits such as traffic alerts. But it was limited by the fact that it could only cross reference Google centric sources (Gmail, maps, your calendar, etc.) in order to do so. However, all that’s about to change.
As Wired reports, “Google has announced more than 70 new integrations for Now. You can find new music to listen to, control your smart home, and even track the whereabouts of your food delivery from the restaurant to your door, all within the confines of Google Now. When you say ‘OK Google’ into your watch or phone to activate Google Now, you’re not just searching for stuff—you’re doing stuff.”
The implications for this are huge. As more and more services come into the fold Google Now becomes more and more powerful. Eventually, it could even get to the point where it makes apps obsolete.
3. Trending Up
Have you ever wanted to know what people are searching for in real time? Well, now you can find out thanks to a new project from Google.
As Wired writes, “Google Trends has long been a tool for journalists tracking what people wanted to know about in the recent past. The function hasn’t changed, but the tense has: Trends now tracks stories in real time, giving unfettered access to what the Internet wants to know in the moment.”
This is a great tool for writers, researchers, and even activists who want to know what’s really happening in a given area instead of just what the media is reporting on. Just like the way Twitter has been used as a political tool so too may Google Trends.
4. It’s In The Vault
Since we’re all computing more and more on our mobile devices Google wants to make them more secure. Enter Project Vault, a security system for your phone disguised as a microsD card.
As CNET explains, “The Vault card is essentially a secure computer that protects the personal information of a phone’s owner. For example, it can encrypt, or scramble, chat messages from an app and provide extra levels of authentication, so your device knows that you are you.”
The best part about this is that not only does it make your phone more secure but it also takes advantage of existing functionality meaning that manufacturers won’t have to change the way that they make phones.
5. Can You Hear Me Now?
We already have lots of way to share things but Google just came up with one more: bursts of sound.
As Engadget explains, “If Google has its way, the days of sharing web links through copying text (or bumping devices) will soon be over. The internet giant has released Google Tone, an ‘experimental’ Chrome extension that shares your browser’s current web address to other computers through specially crafted sound bursts. So long as the recipients are within microphone range and use Tone, they don’t have to lift a finger — their machines will pick up the audio cue and start surfing. There are a lot of variables that could sour your experience (don’t try this in a noisy room, folks), but this could still be ideal if you just have to send cat videos to everyone within earshot.”
Just be careful though that you don’t accidentally share something private with the entire office!
Are any of Google’s lesser known projects the Greatest Idea Ever?