Malte Ubl is a tech lead with Google. He is also, apparently, someone who doesn’t like listening to music in the car, or the sound of road noise. Ubl has just developed an app that will read out random information from Wikipedia, relevant to the place you are driving through.
Road Trip‘ will, in a soothing English voice, give you all the information you never wanted on wherever you happen to be. Importantly, this isn’t just a nice voice that sparks into life whenever you hit a major city, Road Trip will follow you through suburbs, Shires and even streets if they are lucky enough to have a Wikipedia page.
While this may seem rather pointless, and while Googlers are well known for their passion projects, it seems likely that something less “clumsy,” could potentially have a number of uses. Clumsy, by the way, being used with the utmost respect.
As online assistants increase in popularity and become more complex, they learn more about our individual behaviours, what we want, what we like and how we use technology. In the same way that a friend would tell you that a really good French restaurant is a few streets away, if French was to your taste, your assistant could do the same thing. In other words, this type of technology has the potential to make us “locals” in whatever part of the world we happen to be.
Imagine. You are in a completely unfamiliar city, but your assistant has, over many years, learnt your eating habits, preferences and sleep patterns. They will be able to tell you where the best local restaurants are, what hotel would best suit you and your budget, and the location of your meeting tomorrow (also the nearest coffee shop to the hotel with the best cappuccino), all without you even asking. It will be like having someone to organise your life and make sure that your best interests are being seen to.
What’s most exciting about this type of technology is that most people wouldn’t consider it even remotely unrealistic. Advancements in specific areas of technology have improved our lives exponentially over the last few years, and momentum is building.