It has been over a decade, boxes helped Google to govern search. Rectangle on home page and the box of web browser address bars sending users to the search results.
But as of now, internet is more accessed at smart phones than PCs and it changes whole scenario. According to chief of Google search, Amit Singhal – 5 inch screen is not designed to type. So, mobile users anticipate new ways to interact. Addressing the issue, team of Mr. Singhal has brought ‘Now on Tap;.
The facility has been launched as part of the mobile operating system of Android. It helps the users to get the relevant information about the functions running on handset with single button press.
As an illustration of this function, Mr. Singhal terms it showing a text chat where he suggests a restaurant to his wife. He further describes that by holding down the home button while the name of restaurant was shown would show you the driving directions and opening hours of the place as well.
This function works with every app. Additionally, if you want to know something, then you can use the voice search just by saying: “OK Google”.
One possibility could be asking- “Who is the singer?” when name of a song is showed in Spotify. This feature is designed for mobile users. Now you do not need to switch tabs or windows to type information into one window and then switch to another.
As many services of Google, trade-off is always involved. As repercussions, increased amount of information about you hobbies and interests will be unveiled.
Undoubtedly, it will help Google to target the ads, but will also face the criticism. Time Cook (CEO at Apple) said that they are guzzling around everything they can acquire and trying to monetize it. Further he said that this is absolutely wrong and one day user will also probe into it.
Apple has also made much of the buzz that it anonymizes the gathered information about users. For instance, it implies that as it refers location specific alerts without tracking the travel histories of users along with the account information on its servers.
As per the statement of Mr. Singhal- Google is providing the ‘complete control’ over the accessed data and is making the people believe that sharing their information has benefits.
He further adds that if Google does not know about your workplace and meeting time, then it will not be to (automatically) tell you about the traffic conditions.
He said- ‘Google believe with the consent of users for control over the data, they can provide more valuables’.
In a recent study by Comscore- US based users spend more time on the apps than browsers to search for anything.
‘Now on Tap’ precludes Google being shun out of such actions when it does not own the apps.
But it is encountering a threat- consumers are stimulated to use the virtual assistants of the rivals-
• Apple is on the way extending the services to TVs.
• Facebook is on the way to release M on Messenger app.
• Microsoft has launched Cortana to Windows 10 and is likely to expand it to iOS and Android as well.
• Offering to third party gadgets and apps, Alexa will soon be launched by Amazon.
It seems that Google’s rivals are providing their tools personalities, whereas the voice search results appear too bleak comparatively. To this Mr. Singhal suggested that computer codes are not comprehensive for prime time.
The key challenge with computer based personalities is that human based interactions are far more tinged then encoded algorithm. As per Mr. Singhal’s statements- A funny emoticon is not always the right character. Human to human interactions are easy but computer to human interaction is a tough task. So before developing the human sensitive technology we are working on it.
Google is also investing in image recognition. Initiative can be seen in the latest launched Photos app that stabs to catalogue images automatically and that too with appropriate keywords.
Mr. Singhal describes how his phone works on his commands to find the recently taken picture even when he did not tag them.
He talks about the times when they started working on speech recognition. At that time, they used to get one wrong word out of the four every time. And if this is the outcome then definitely the product is not worth of. Computer vision has reached to a stage where we can tell it is a chair but the brand and model of chair cannot be told. But these limitations did not hamper Amazon to release Firefly- a feature helping the users to scan real world objects to gather information about it on its Fire phone.
Mr. Singhal concludes this part by saying that the handset flopped and then withdrawn the stock for sale.
He says that they are happy with these attempts as it helps others to push the envelope. During same period Google came up with Google Goggles app. And it made them to learn that technology needs lot of improvements before bringing out a billion user product of it.
However, Mr. Singhal is not interested to deliberate the particulars of regulatory probes that Google encounters. Recently India and EU alleged the firm of battering its lead in search to suppress competition, and as per the reports, US is also looking into the issue.
He says that there are many ways to get the information on mobile phone and the market is competitive too with deep pockets.
However, he said that you cannot innovate using a lens of past. Competitive market keeps us the honest- said Mr. Singhal. As science progress and we innovate 7 build the things that do not exist. Google has been doing it for 17 years. The future is built on a strong foundation and Google Search is that solid and useful for its users.