Google launched Daydream today, a new integrated line of phones, Virtual Reality devices and personal mobile computing assistants. It will improve how you connect to your your friends, your home, your data, the internet and you can also take better pictures blah blah blah. Yet another Smartphone brand hitting the market with minor improvements over its competitors. That was my initial impression from Today’s Big Google Event, that I live streamed and nodded along with, as they discussed how rapidly technology is evolving I felt like they weren’t evolving fast enough with it. (aside from my phone also nodding along ; it reacted every time someone said “OK GOOGLE” *I’m eager for when more people realize the potential of Audio-triggered phone engagement) The presentations were good, and though I thoroughly enjoyed them, I feel they missed a few important points and in some ways, missed the big picture. So I thought i’d make some notes about my first impressions.
Our world is becoming increasingly complex, technology has the challenge of trying to simplify how we engage with it and each other. Don’t get me wrong, the new devices Google are offering are a step in the right direction (click here to see where we are headed). They are gonna be cool, have better graphics, better voice recognition and improved integration with other systems. I just think that with a few simple tweaks the devices they are launching could’ve done so much more, right out of the box.
Google clearly intends to position themselves to be the “go to” for technology. They want to be the device that u carry with you everywhere that acts as your phone, your computer and personal assistant. It is also how you to surf the net, communicate, and entertain yourself. You can use it as a Virtual Reality device to teleport around the world , experiencing “virtually” anything, oh and and play games and socialize on it too.
Google also wants you to add a set of devices in your work and home, some larger ones that may seem like an early version of a voice activated robot droid. Smaller devices like their “WiFi” units are meant to spread out in the rooms and extend your home network, all while they link to your other devices. This seems reasonable to me, but with a few tweaks, those could do so much more. I’m perfectly fine placing a small “room unit” devices in every room that links to my main device “home unit” but each of those devices needs to serve a wider variety of functions. Not only are they a range booster , they need to each be a mobile device docking/charging station, a Cast functional external speaker, contain a host of sensors; motion, fire, temperature, audio mic, and much more. Apps that help with connecting and sharing WiFi with trusted neighbors could extend WiFi ranges for buildings and neighborhoods (public/limited). The devices should come with a couple of WiFi controlled power-bars and light switch adapters so that “right out of the box” you can turn your home into a full “smart home”. Sensors and controls this is what will convert existing items into smart devices and give easy access to them with programmable macro commands. This is where Direct action integration and voice recognition will really start to shine and should drive us into an era of vastly improved energy efficiency. Exciting times ahead.
Daydream as a VR device, awesome. It plays 360 videos from YouTube, Excellent. and now onto something else…… wait a sec, what was that? GOOGLE is STILL downplaying the greatest thing to happen in our societyEVER. How is this possible?360 cameras can record a moment of time that can be re-lived when watched in VR devices, Even Live Streams such as weddings, concerts, sporting events, political debates. This merits much more press than it is currently receiving (which is none). It should be plastered on the www.Google.com home page and shouted from every Media outlet in the world. Not only is it a good way to kickstart the VR industry but it is also one of the greatest technological wonders of OUR TIME.
The ability to watch a gyroscopic video in landscape split screen mode is by far the most underrated achievement I have ever come across. It is the catalyst for change the likes of which this world may have never seen before. This will affect health, safety,security, education, travel and how businesses operate. It’s the formation of the Metaverse it is the next iteration of MEDIA. G.L.S.M. is even more important when applied to pass-through cameras on mobile V.R. devices! It allows ease of access to cheap Augmented reality, available Today. (think of Snapchat filters, in Landscape split-screen mode in google CardboardVR. Puppy faces on everyone! QR codes that become animated advertising) It would spur the launch of the Daydream A.R. platform for apps using the pass-through cam. and usher back in Google Glass etc.. . Where did google mess up? The pass-through camera on the Daydream V.R. unit is covered! Luckily this one is a Simple fix, poke a hole.
Cast (formerly Chromecast) is a nifty way to send to a video or audio signal from your mobile device (including V.R. view) but still, they missed the greatest use of video signal sending. Casting to each other. Our current methods of sending video files and links to a person in the same room are archaic, time to evolve. If i’m watching an awesome video, why cant I share my screen (experience) with the person beside me or even to someone across the planet? I want both of us to be able to watch it together, in real time, and hearing each others comments. We can do this to a big TV or in some V.R. apps already (altSpaceVR). Yet we can’t do this in real life yet? Video signal sending is not new. We have the technology, we just don’t use it to it’s full potential, yet. Cast can fix this. Daydream announced that now you can say, “OK GOOGLE show my photos on my TV”. but what I really want is “show my mom my most recent trip “ and cast that content (360 of course) to her devices . “Take us to Paris” should load up that V.R. content to both our V.R. devices regardless of where we are. This is how social Experiences will occur. Cast needs to rapidly evolve into SimulCast. Sharing Videos, sharing Experiences and virtual communication can become much more user friendly with a few little tweaks. (also being able to send audio and video to seperate devices would be convenient , 360 live video feeds and my Electric guitar signal too, if you please, that’d be great)
I get what Google, Samsung, Sony and Facebook are doing, becoming a more integral part of my life. Becoming the “middle man” between me and the world. Using technology to improve my abilities as a human, (I’m starting to feel like a cyborg). It’s experimentation on a massive scale with human culture and behavior. Though it’s risky and being done without any real testing first. I love being a part of this weird wacky system of human guinea pig trials with tech to (ideally) improve quality of life and free up more time. I love to tinker and play with the devices to see what you can do with them. All in all, I’m a fan, keep it coming, I’m just fairly surprised at how poorly the news releases about these devices are rolling out and the rate of innovation taking place through cross-system integration. There is so much potential floating around right now, but it seems like too many conversations are spent on the three color choices of the next model and not what they can do for us.