Wow Google has really been making a lot of moves recently. First it is getting into the television business with Google TV, the company is also making Google Maps available off line, and finally it is also getting into the textile business by developing “smart” fabrics.
We have often pointed to the simple fact that businesses must innovate and diversify if they want to survive in the modern world. This is especially true of large businesses that are in the high tech sector and Google has certainly proven this adage to be true. From its acquisition of YouTube, to its Chrome Books, the company which started as just another search engine has become as synonymous with American success as Coca Cola and IBM in just 15 years.
But the biggest news by far has to be that Google is developing its own smart fabric together with the clothing company Levis Inc. Called “Project Jacquard, ” the new clothing will be similar to touch screens in that people will be able to make things happen by swiping a shirt or the side of their pants. “Smart threads” will be woven into fabrics and buttons will be used to communicate with mobile devices.
H.G. Wells and Isaac Asimov could never have dreamed of something like this. It seems like the rate of technological advancement has surpassed the ability of science fiction to come up with new ideas. Could this mean the death of the genre?
“If you can weave interactivity and input methods into the fabric, that’s the first step towards a wearable computer, ” said the project’s leader Ivan Poupyrev. “The structure of textiles is the same as the structure of touch screens.”
So think about it. Soon you will not even need to have a mobile device. Your clothing will already have a computer in it and will interact with any video screen. Just touch a shirt button and rub your left pocket like a mouse to navigate. Wow!!
Shiho Fukuhara, the project’s textile development and partnership leader said, “We are working with designers all over the world. It can be visible and obvious, or totally invisible.”
Also now, Google declares that with it new TV service it is introducing a smarter TV with blockbuster movies, live sports, streaming apps and multiplayer games. Android TV delivers a world of content, apps and games to your living room, boasts Google.
Apps like YouTube, Hulu Plus and NBA Game Time put personalized recommendations for videos, shows and sports in your home screen. The company also just signed a deal with HBO Now.
Google TV is voice operated. A user can say the name of a movie or television show into a mic on their remote control and it will pop up for streaming with whichever video service offers it.
You can get a new television with Google TV already built in – the new Sony line has it – or connect to an Android device with the TV that you already have. Sharp and Phillips will also be offering it built in.
As for Google Maps, it will be offered off line later this year. The company announced on Thursday that it will enable users to access to the app with no internet connection with few restrictions.
‘With offline maps, you won’t need to suck down expensive data or have super reliable connectivity every time you want to navigate somewhere, ‘ Jen Fitzpatrick, Google’s vice president of engineering, said.
A company spokesman also told the Huffington Post, “This was influenced by a number of scenarios where access to maps would be useful. Some examples might include when someone is in a coverage dead-spot in their town or city — for instance a parking garage. Or if someone is traveling to another country and they don’t have a local data plan.”
“Our goal is to make traveling and exploring new places easier for people. Access to Maps while offline will allow people to make last-minute decisions or search for places of interest on the spot without having to pre-plan the day.”
Some day we will be telling our amazed grandchildren about a time before Google did everything.