You, Google and the Future

Category: Reference

Google’s grand vision for your connected life was revealed in great detail during the company’s annual developers conference, Google I/O, held during the last week of June. Like some people’s Facebook relationship status, “it’s complicated.” Read on to learn what you can expect from Google in the future…

What's Coming From Google?

The Internet of Things is one major trend for which Google is gearing up. As more and more appliances, household furnishings, clothes, and even consumables such as soup cans get connected to the Net, there are more digital displays on which Google can sell ads.

It behooves Google to “own” that ad space by extending the hegemony of its Android and Chrome operating systems into every niche developers’ market. People are looking at multiple screens each day now: desktop, phone, TV, tablet, smartwatch, in-car dashboard display, and so on.

Google plans to be everywhere your eyeballs are. That's not to say that you'll see Google ads on soup cans, but you get the idea.
Google and Your Future

Google says that Android phone users check their phones more than 125 times per day, on average. So the smartphone will become the command-and-control center for your digital life in Google’s vision of the future. Here are some examples of products and services that Google unveiled at the I/O conference:

The Android One initiative is intended to bring a “high quality, affordable smartphone” to the market – in developing countries, so don’t hold your breath for that. Google is developing a set of hardware and software reference platforms, like the Intel Ultrabook platform, that OEMs can use as blueprints to produce highly functional Android phones and other devices at market prices of less than $100.

Android L (the version that comes after KitKat), the next version of Google’s mobile OS, will extend beyond phones to cars, TVs, wearables, and other next-generation mobile devices. Android L is a huge effort; Google is adding more than 5,000 new APIs to Android, enabling that many new feature sets that app developers can use.

Project Volta is Google’s battery-conserving Android initiative. It includes Battery Historian, tool that shows which apps and processes running on your phone drain the most power at a given point in time. The new Job Scheduler API lets developers of maintenance apps restrict their apps’ power use to times when the phone is connected to an A/C power source. Battery Saver mode slows the CPU’s clock, lowers the display refresh rate, and suspends background data transfers to conserve power. This functionality is long overdue, and I just hope it works better than all the battery saver apps I've tried so far.

It's Only Natural...

The Android Wear developers’ toolkit was unveiled three months before the I/O conference. It enables apps that interact with users naturally through round or square displays on smartwatches, sleeve windows, and other wearable display types.

Voice commands are the “natural” user interface in Android’s future. An example is Lyft, an app that obeys the spoken command, “OK, Lyft, call me a car” by pinpointing your GPS location and contacting the Lyft car service; pretty soon a driver and car show up. This should work fine unless you prefer another car service such as Uber, or you’re standing at a noisy intersection and the app has trouble understanding you. "Did you say: 'OK, Schlitz… call me a bar?'"

Android Auto is a project that makes Android more car-friendly, with voice commands for navigation, music, and communications such as phone calls, email, etc. “Hands-free” interaction with your smartcar is presumed to be safer even though studies show it’s the attention you’re paying to the car that distracts you from that baby stroller in the street.

Android TV is Google’s new attempt to invade your living room. Google TV failed to establish a beachhead after four years and two major assaults, but Android TV hopes to exploit consumers’ love of phones to get them hooked. Smartphones and tablets will be used to control TV and ancillary gear, and compatible remote controls will be supported incidentally.

People watch TV an average of 5 hours per day, according to Google. Chromecast plans to put the other 19 hours to work displaying photos and “mood” media (think tropical fish swimming), and allowing any app to be mirrored on a big-screen display; that would be ideal for Google Earth, for instance.

A Warm, Fuzzy Embrace

Variations of just two Chromebook models – the Acer C720 family and the HP Chromebook 14 – occupy the top ten spots on Amazon’s list of best laptops. Google plans to keep pushing the successful Chromebook model, particularly in K-12 schools. Your Chromebook will automatically sense your Android smartphone, sync with it, and the two devices will embrace you in a warm, fuzzy user interface. Eventually, Android itself will run on Chromebooks.

A really big deal for business users is the debut of Native Office Editing, which integrates MS Office documents into Google Docs. You can edit a Word .docx document without converting it to Google Doc format, or create a new document and save it in .docx format.

As you can tell, Google plans to expand its reach into every corner of consumers’ lives. It remains to be seen whether that’s a good or bad thing, overall.

Your thoughts on this topic are already known to Google, but go ahead and share them here, anyway. :-) Post a comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "You, Google and the Future"

Posted by:

Elizabeth Landry
03 Jul 2014

I want the internet of things to give me live news with video feed, free from around the world 24/7. That's what we need, anything else is fluff. Peace, E

Posted by:

03 Jul 2014

Google makes me nervous. To my mind Google is all about controlling and dominating everyone, all of the time. George Orwell or Aldous Huxley come to mind.

Posted by:

Robert Kemper
03 Jul 2014

I'd hate to see any single company with too much
control get established without some good strong competition from other developer's.
That's what makes the competative capitalistic
system so desirable.

Posted by:

03 Jul 2014

Boy, it seems Google is trying to "cover" ALL bases!!!

Yes, I am an Android SmartPhone user and really do love my phone. I also, love using Google's Chrome Browser. What worries me, the most, for the future is Google's purchase of the Next company, so, that most of what you have suggested, can be done.

I wish that I could say, all of this, is years and years away ... But, the reality is, it is only maybe 10 years away. Oh, not all of it, but the complete basis of the whole concept, will be in place.

In 10 years time, I will be in my early 80's and can not honestly say, if, I will be using either my computer or my SmartPhone, by then. I do know, if, I am still able to use both ... I will want things very simplified. NO Next for me or Voice Apps or a Bluetooth car, nope, not for me. First of all, I have a very old, in excellent condition, Lincoln Towncar ... It does NOT have a GPS or Bluetooth installed in it, nor did it come with any of that stuff.

It's a 1998 Lincoln Towncar Cartier, which was the top of the line, at that time and it has less than 110,000 miles on the car. This is my last car, so, I wanted comfort and luxury when I drove or went anywhere. I also, got it used, in mint condition.

I do worry that, all of this will be very intrusive/invasive into people's lives, and they won't even be aware of it. Bottom line ... Once, you get use to something and like it ... You will move heaven and earth to stop it, from being taken away from you. This the true nature of being a human being ... And, it's called survival.

Posted by:

04 Jul 2014

Google says... Voice commands are the “natural” user interface.

I disagree. I don't even talk to people unless I need to. And I never used to talk to my manual typewriter, butr this lack of verbal communication didn't stop me producing a few million words of copy before I went over to the dark side.

There'#s a;ready too much noise in this damned modern world of hours, without a bar full of people yakking to their soddin' androids to check if they locked the front door, or if they fed the cat.


Posted by:

Jay Rodriguez
04 Jul 2014

Say, Bob. Another great article. Maybe you could explain the difference between Google and the NSA one day?

Or is there one?

Posted by:

04 Jul 2014

"....check their phones more than 125 times per day."?
For what?? If my phone rings, I answer it, otherwise, what would I bloody check for?
I do not use goggle anything!
It's thanks to them that I had to abandon YouTube!
I refuse to be spied on.

Posted by:

top squirrel
04 Jul 2014

You write: "Voice commands are the “natural” user interface in Android’s future. An example is Lyft, an app that obeys the spoken command, “OK, Lyft, call me a car.”

You've heard about the ability of only sophisticated computer programs to fool users about whether or not there is a real human being on the other end? I'm waiting until the program answers, "OK, you're a car."

Posted by:

Jim Stewart
04 Jul 2014

My 60 year old brain may not be of interest to Google. I can not imagine myself talking into my sleeve (Secret Service Style) to summon a taxi or to find out how far way the nearest mental institution that serves fish and chips is. And a smart watch, which I still cannot comprehend what it is, appears to be a Dick Tracy steal. I cannot properly change my watch from standard time to daylight saving time so even my old Timex is smarter than me as it is.

Roku and Xbox provide my video content for TV which seem free of Google. My smartphone (Blackberry) sits on a shelf while I carry about a dumb talk/text LG flip phone. And I am happy. My Fridge is so smart it leaks on the floor and is about 15 years old. It has no online interests at all.

All that makes me ask is Google seeking the 20-somethings to grow into their tech and is the over 50 crowd not much of an interest to them.

Posted by:

John Christian Hager
04 Jul 2014

Hey, Bob? Do you remember the feeling you got way back when your slightly annoying girlfriend wanted to move some of her stuff into your place "just in case" she needed it? That creepy, space-violating feeling? That "I don't know just how, but I know this will be a bad idea" feeling?

Got that now about Google. Might be time for a "it's not you, it's me" talk. And an iPhone.

Posted by:

05 Jul 2014

How long will we be able to avoid this by using an old smartphone? Or will I need to go back to a flip-phone?

Posted by:

07 Jul 2014

@Jim Stewart --- Your comments gave me, my BIG laugh of the day!!! Thank you, for your wonderful sense of humor and the excellent expressive way, you wrote it. I also, tend to agree, with everything you said.

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