Google wants to move into your HOME: Giant plans to fit microphones in ceilings…
Google is already heavily criticised for trying to know almost everything about us, and now the firm wants to get inside our homes, literally.
Engineering director Scott Huffman told The Independent that in his vision of the future Google users would have microphones fitted inside their homes.
Huffman envisages houses with microphones fitted to the ceiling that act like personal assistants; responding to voice queries and connecting to phones, tablets and other smart devices.
He said: ‘Imagine I say ‘Can you bring up a video of the highlights of yesterday’s Pittsburgh Steelers game and play it on a TV in the living room?’ and it works because the Cloud means everything is connected.’
Elsewhere he said he could ask his Google assistant where to go for lunch that serves a particular type of food and on a certain budget and Google will find somewhere.
Huffman could then get in his car and his sat nav would be already programmed to take him to the restaurant of choice.
The plans aren’t too much of a stretch from what the Google Now app already offers thanks to what’s called ‘predictive analysis.’
It is capable of predicting what a user will do next and offer relevant help and information at each step without ever being asked.
GOOGLE WANTS TO WRITE YOUR TWEETS AND FACEBOOK POSTS
Patent details recently emerged showing Google’s plans for a robot that writes Facebook posts, emails and tweets – but will need FULL access to scan accounts.
The patent was filed by a Google software engineer on behalf of the firm and described a system that analyses a user’s online posts, emails and texts.
The system, or bot, would then generate automated replies for future posts and these replies would be written in a way that mimics that person’s usual language and tone.
Predictive analysis isn’t a new concept – financial services have used it for years to work out a person’s credit score and how likely they are pay back a loan, for example.
Yet Google Now, along with other intelligent personal assistant apps including Osito and Grokr, uses this technology to predict how everyday smartphone owners are going to behave.
Huffman believes that personal home assistants could work in a similar way, by telling users they need to leave for an appointment – because it has checked their calendar – or remind them what time a flight leaves, for example.
Google’s recent Hummingbird update also made the search engine more human by being able to answer long, complex questions and understand context.
For example, asking Google ‘Tell me about impressionist artists’ will show a list of artists but also now let users click to learn about the impressionist movement, browse individual artwork, or switch to abstract artists using filters.
And users only need to mention the context once. For example, if searching for information about Big Ben, the searcher only needs to say ‘Big Ben’ once; Google will know that if someone asks for trivia about the landmark, but then ask for directions, both questions relate to the same thing.
Google’s director of engineering and futurist, Ray Kurzweil announced in June he thinks in just over 30 years, humans will be able to upload their entire minds to computers and become digitally immortal – an event called singularity.
This singularity is also referred to as digital immortality because brains and a person’s intelligence will be digitally stored forever, even after they die.
Kurzweil also added this will be possible through neural engineering and referenced the recent strides made towards modeling the brain and technologies which can replace biological functions.
Examples of such technology include the cochlear implant – an implant that is attached to the brain’s cochlear nerve and electronically stimulates it to restore hearing to someone who is deaf.
Other examples include technology that can restore motor skills after the nervous system is damaged.
Google-owned Motorola also recently got in on the wearable technology game with a patent for electronic neck tattoos.
According to the patent filed by the phone maker, the tattoo would be placed onto a person’s throat and pick sounds created by their voice.
If the user is making a phone call, the tattoo would then send these sounds wirelessly to the smartphone and the caller.
Huffman believes the microphones could be fitted to people’s homes as soon as 2018.
There are already similar systems in place, most notably in Microsoft’s Xbox One console.
Although it doesn’t connect to other smart devices, the console does respond to voice queries to help users watch TV, make Skype calls or search Bing – among other tasks.
Huffman continued: ‘We use a fairly complex linguistic structure in conversation that Google today doesn’t understand. But five years from now we will be having that kind of conversation with Google and it will just seem natural. Google will answer you the same way a person would answer.’
When pushed about the privacy implications such devices could have, Huffman said users should trust Google because it is takes the issues ‘very seriously.’
He added that Google’s goal is to keep the information secure and only use it in a way that gives value to the user
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