Since 2012 Google has been the king of software technology and innovation, dethroning Apple. Google has their hands in way more than just search engines today and is constantly creating new technology.
Hello, Google Now. Goodbye, Siri.
Last year technology giant Google introduced Google Now, a personal assistant app that’s very similar to Apple’s Siri. Google Now is the closest app we have to the talking operating system Samantha from the movie “Her,” in that it tracks your web history and GPS to make suggestions based on your habits (kinda creepy, huh?). So if you’re OK with your phone logging all that info about you, then this app is actually extremely awesome. Here’s a brief list of features:
- Shopping – Let’s say you’re shopping online, and you’re about to check out. If there’s a store in the area that has the exact product in stock, Google Now will notify you before you make that purchase and have to pay for shipping. Google Now also takes your shopping history and makes suggestions about new products.
- Travel – If your GPS is on while you have Google Now running, the app will learn your morning commute, automatically update in real time about traffic and give alternate routes.
- Voice command – This is pretty much a necessity when talking about personal assistant apps, and Google has pretty much mastered voice command (without the annoying Siri voice). Ask Google anything you want, and it will pull it up. Or don’t ask it, and, based on your search history, Google will just give you info on topics you regularly search.
Also, over the weekend a chatterbot passed the Turing Test – “an assessment of machine intelligence” – for the first time. This pretty much means computer software was able to get human judges to believe it actually was a human speaking to them. With Google Now’s ability to learn based on search history and advancements in software, it’s able to blur the line between man and machine. Who knows? We may have a smart operating system sometime in the near future.
Hey! Who’s Driving This Thing?!
Google’s not only killing it in the software world, but it’s also expanding its innovation to the streets. That’s right, Google’s been developing a driverless car for the past few years, and we may start seeing them on streets as soon as September. The car navigates using GPS and Google Maps, and prototypes will be tested this summer in California. These cars currently have no steering wheel, break pedals or gas pedals, only buttons to start the car and a computer screen to map a route. This is the main controversy with the car; there is no safety net in which a driver could step in and take control. Even though these tests are just preliminary and the technology will most likely not be available for years, it’s still an exciting step into the future.
New App Helps Avoid “Friends”
Think Google Now is creepy because it knows you better than some of your friends? Well, now there’s an app that lets you avoid those “friends.” Cloak, which is being called the “anti-social network,” is an app that allows you to see where friends on social media platforms like Instagram and Foursquare have checked in, so you can strategically avoid those areas. Yes, the app creeps on you and your social media friends, but the intention of the app is not to stalk people but to stay away from them. If you’ve had one of those days where you just don’t want to see anyone you know (you’re not alone), then this is an app just for you. Since not everyone uses Instagram and Foursquare, founder Chris Baker has stated they intend to update the app to use other networks like Facebook and Twitter so users can truly avoid “friends” in the most efficient way possible.
Have you had experience with Google Now or Cloak? Leave a comment below and tell us what you thought.