In yesterday’s New York Times, columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote, “One way to think of Google is as an extremely helpful, all-knowing, hyper-intelligent executive assistant.”
And it’s only getting smarter. As Sundar Pichai, top banana at Google’s Android division, tells Manjoo of the near future: “If I go and pick up my kids, it will be good for my car to be aware that my kids have entered the car and change the music to something that’s appropriate for them.”
It’s an exciting prospect, though I must admit that so much connectedness raises some questions for my own young family, such as which song from “Frozen” Android will choose: “Let it Go” or “For the First Time in Forever”? What if just one kid wants to hear “In Summer”?
If a fight breaks out in the back seat, I hope Android will turn up the volume so I don’t have to listen to my children screaming and punching each other.
Here’s another thing: I am generally a good, straightforward person, but occasionally, when my husband thinks that I’m working tirelessly in our home office, I’m really downtown shopping at Neiman Marcus. If our Dropcam or Nest thermostat alerts Google to the fact that I’m away, and the GPS in my phone provides the rest of the clues as to my whereabouts, I wonder about some of the implications. For instance, could Google send me a discount code while I’m at the store? That would be terrific.
Google cofounder and CEO Larry Page tells Manjoo that people get “so worried about these things” like Google’s tracking us and profiting from our every move online and off, that we could miss out on the benefits of this new context aware world over which Google suddenly looks to have iron-clad control.
But with Page and Google cofounder Sergey Brin at the helm of this “single, hyperaware computing system,” what’s to worry about? (They will live forever, correct?)
The fact is I am done wasting time, changing the music in my car to suit my kids. I have more important things to do, and Google knows it, because it has already scanned this content of this post.
Photo: Peter Foley/EPA