The Woodward News

Community News Network

October 29, 2013

A watch that will tell you when you're late

Everyone, it seems, is building a smartwatch these days. Pebble, Sony and Samsung have already released theirs. Apple has long been rumored to be working on one. Nokia has filed for patents.

But the rumors about Google's smartwatch are more intriguing than most, for two reasons.

First, it might actually be close to completion. The Wall Street Journal reports this week that the device is "in late-stage development" and the company is "in talks with Asian suppliers to begin mass production." That makes it unlikely to be available in time for the holidays, but quite possibly ready to launch in the first half of next year. Apple, in contrast, is downplaying the notion that its watch will be ready anytime soon.

Second, Google is one of two companies — Apple being the other — with the software to make a smartwatch actually useful. The fundamental problem with smartwatches is that their screens are tiny, so they have to be able to serve up information in intelligent, bite-size chunks, either in response to voice queries or of their own accord. For Apple, that likely means heavy reliance on Siri, which is pretty good for making calls, checking the weather or checking your calendar, but limited when it comes to Web searches or anticipating your needs. For Google, it means Google Now, which is starting to get pretty good at all of those things. Indeed, the WSJ reports that Google Now is likely a big part of the company's watch plans:

The new device, which will run on Android, will be integrated with Google Now, the company's intelligent personal assistant that can answer questions, make recommendations and predict what information users need based on what they are doing, a person familiar with the situation said.

Among other things, Google Now can be configured to give you a heads-up when it thinks you should leave for an appointment, based on your current location, the location of the appointment, and even real-time traffic conditions. Google is also working on giving it the capability to learn from your habits and adjust its notifications and estimates accordingly. The idea is that it can do a lot of this on its own, without you having to fumble with buttons or a touchscreen keypad. Meanwhile, the compact "cards" that the company has been developing for Google Glass could also come in handy on a watch's small screen. And, as you've probably noticed, Google search itself has become more oriented to delivering simple, straightforward answers to your queries, which is far more useful than a list of Web results when your screen is only an inch or two wide.

While other companies race to beat Apple to market with smartwatches, the assumption has been that Apple will set the bar if and when it comes out with an iWatch. But it had better watch out: Google could set a pretty high bar of its own, and it's looking like it might just do it first.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo