What if my phone had 5 senses - guess what it already has and more!

17 Feb 2011
Posted by adrianb

Touch (feeling), Taste, Smell, Sight & Sound. Aristotle is reputed to have been the first to formally classify the human senses in this way. Todays new mobile phones are loaded with features like Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, navigation, web browser, video etc.
In fact modern mobiles are so stuffed full of capabilities that these fancy tech features can start to seem quite ordinary. But used together in the right way, and suddenly your phone can once again become the techno marvel the adverts said it was.
A couple of days ago the British Computer Society (of which I am a proud member) hosted a seminar by Dave Singleton, an Engineering Manager at Google. Dave has worked on stuff like "Search by Voice", "YouTube Mobile", "Google Voice". Dave demo'd some of the new voice access services Google have knocked out over the last few years. These have largely been ignored by the technorati as just another batch of Google apps. It would be a big mistake for anyone in business not to keep an eye on what the search giant is up to, for at least two reasons. Firstly because despite the best efforts of Microsoft "Bing", if your business has a web presence, no matter the method of access Google still = search, and search = business, whether you pay per click or just rely on natural search results. Secondly, Google has developed massive computing power expertise through providing it's "ordinary" text search service, is very good at managing all this power, and also adept at learning quickly (for a multi-billion dollar operation) from it's mistakes, rapidly developing new services that work well and have high take up rates, and being pragmatic and quickly dropping those that don't work out.
So where am I leading you to with this long winded narrative? Well, it's like this: mobile devices are now ubiquitous, never leave our side, and are fast becoming the most vital personal device. Because at the heart of mobile is still voice - and Google not only means to be the top mobile OS (via Android) but also the easiest means of accessing a whole raft of useful services from your phone, no matter the OS. Driving around in a strange town looking for a pizza? Ask your Google enabled phone. It can already not only tell you where the nearest ones are, but can also connect you to the restaurant you choose to book, and then help you navigate to the nearest parking, and also navigate the walk from the parking space back to the restaurant, all without touching the phone at all.
Very sophisticated in theory and surprisingly useable in practice. All the R&D and mega server farms that lead here costs plenty. So how does Google plan to fund the R&D and the ongoing services? Here is a guess.
Say you are the number one pizza restaurant. Well what if you could pay for your company to be presented as that choice of restaurant - and perhaps even more importantly, what if you didn't? AdVoice here we come...