Integrating digital and physical lives

By Leah Fisher Nyfeler – October 25, 2012

Have you played Cell Phone Roulette?  Everyone at a restaurant puts his or her cell phone in the center of the table.  The first one to touch a phone picks up the tab.  It's a great way to solve the problem of incessant cell phone use…and a great way to get a free dinner if you're one who can let go of technology for a few minutes.  It's nice table etiquette to simply focus on your meal and dinner companions.

But Miss Manners aside, Google would like to see people more tuned into the digital world.  According to a recent article in The New York Times, the information giant is working on many ways to bring searches into daily lives.  Aside from simply typing in questions and reading answers on computer or smartphone screens, now Google and many other technology companies are researching ways to combine digital and physical worlds.  Siri, Apple's voice-activated "assistant," is an example of such an interactive bridge.

More innovations are ahead.  How about Google Glass, an innovation that lets people access the Web via their eyeglass frames?  What about technology that allows screens to be built into walls or dining room tables?  Does that seem far-fetched?  According to the NYT article, "Google says its internal logs reveal that mobile searches spike during mealtimes, when people are away from their computers but still want information immediately.



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