If “Ok Google” has its way, then our freaky future would include microphones hanging from the ceiling and microchips implanted in brains to make search easier.
If your mobile device is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or higher, then you can say “Ok Google” and tell Google what to do. You can, for example, make calls such as saying “call dad’s mobile,” or ask for driving directions, set reminders and alarms, schedule meetings, post on Google+, ask search-like queries, or send email and text messages. You can also use Ok Google to play music and movies. You can even ask your listening Android device, “What’s this song?”
Google explained, “The ability to trigger a search or action by Ok Google is hotword detection” that is most likely on, unless you turned it off. “To turn it off or on, open the Google Search app and touch Menu > Settings > Voice > Hotword detection.”
Perhaps you knew all that and utilize Ok Google on your mobile device and your PC or laptop too? Last month, Google released Ok Google Chrome extension so you can speak your search. Google described the extension as: “Hands-free. No typing. Simply say ‘Ok Google’ and then ask your question.” Lifehacker added "Chrome will listen for you to say 'Ok Google' and then send the sound of the next thing you say, plus a few seconds before, to Google. By default, Google stops listening after 5 minutes to reduce battery consumption on a laptop.”
If you’ve embraced those two options, then you might like the future described by Google’s engineering director, Scott Huffman.
If you don’t like the idea of Google listening, then you will likely be creeped out by what Huffman told The Independent about microphones hanging from the ceiling and microchips implanted in brains. “Imagine I can say to a microphone in the ceiling of the room ‘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.”
You wouldn’t need to check your phone for appointment details as Huffman said of ceiling microphones, “Like a great personal assistant, it will interrupt you and say ‘you’ve got to leave now’. It will bring you the information you want.” He added, “I could ask my Google ‘assistant’ where we should have lunch, that serves French food and isn’t too expensive? Google will go ‘ Ok, we’ll go to that place’ and when I get in my car it should already be navigating to that restaurant. We’re really excited by the idea of multiple devices being able to talk to each other.”
When does Google expect this sort of personal assistant to be a reality? “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.” Huffman added, “Google will understand context in conversation but it’s not an armchair psychiatrist. You can’t have a conversation about your mother. Google can’t talk to me about how I feel about things until it understands factual ‘things’.”
Whether you are thinking yikes or yeppers I want that, Huffman believes we will all eventually embrace the idea. “It's a cultural thing, getting used to a technology like this, but there will be a whole set of devices built around it,” Huffman told The Guardian. “We have a super computer in our pockets, but also one in our watch, one in our glasses, maybe on our lapel as well as our laptop. Some of those have a screen and a keyboard but some won't, and we're seeing dramatic growth in the numbers of people interacting through voice recognition.”
In fact, microphones hanging from the ceiling are just the beginning as Huffman told The Independent that “Google believes it can ultimately fulfil people’s data needs by sending results directly to microchips implanted into its user’s brains.” He said, “If you think hard enough about certain words they can be picked up by sensors fairly easily."
It brings to mind an old joke about Googlized lives. This image was originally created in 2005 and called Google 2084, but then morphed into Google 2020 as a demotivational poster. At the rate things are going, it might be a “reality” by 2018.