Google and Ambient Computing
We often say things like “the internet changed the world” and yet still think about a world where we have to sit down at a computer and open up a browser to use it. To some degree, smartphones have changed this, but not entirely. Your smartphone is essentially just a miniature computer, and you’re still using an app or a browser to read this content on your screen right now. The difference is in portability. You can have that internet connection anywhere you want. But it’s still the same base process of using the device to consciously go on the web.
At Google, experts claim they want to take things a step further. Their goal is to allow for internet connections and use at all times, through a variety of hardware systems and software programs, with the end goal of creating a user experience that allows you to use the net without consciously thinking about it. They call this process ambient computing, and it is one vision for the future.
While some people focus on Google for this vision, it’s actually in use by many major technology companies. One example is how Amazon has released a number of Echo devices, which can accept voice commands. You simply set up the device in a part of the room and you can command it to do certain actions whenever you want.
These are often used to do things that previous generations didn’t even consider computer-related tasks. For instance, say you want to listen to some classical music while you do the dishes. Rather than getting out a record or a CD, or even bringing up a playlist on your phone with a Bluetooth speaker, you just tell the Echo device what you want to hear. You don’t even have to dry off your hands. The device does everything for you, engaging with a computer system whether you think about it or not.
These devices can then be networked to create other options. For instance, Google makes the Nest system, which is a thermostat for your house. You can adjust it with your phone, but you can also link it to your voice devices so that you can give voice commands like “turn up the heat.” Even if you use your phone — say you want to activate the furnace a few hours before you get home — you likely don’t think of this as using the internet. You just think that you’re flipping on the furnace. But that’s the sort of connectivity that ambient computing allows. The internet is everywhere and you certainly don’t need a desktop computer to use it.
A Changing World
The internet has changed the world, and it is still doing so. Ambient computing has altered how people use the internet and what services they expect. This can vastly change your goals when advertising and connecting with consumers, and we can help every step of the way here at Content Customs.