Google Now and Big Data
Few companies manage information better than Google. If there were an annual award for corporate information management (IM), I’m sure that Google would have won it–or had been in the top three–over the past decade.
Why take IM so seriously? Because, quite frankly, without it, Google becomes much, much less valuable. Sans information, how does Google really help us? It helps us find what we want; Google doesn’t directly give us what we want. In other words, we don’t spend much time on google.com. We use it to go to the sites that let us buy things.
Google Now is a standard feature of Android Jelly Bean and up. It’s an easily accessible screen that shows you information about your daily commute (because it learns where you go every day and makes an educated guess as to where ‘home’ and ‘work’ are for you), appointments, local weather, upcoming flight and hotel reservations (assuming you give it access to scan your Gmail account) and how your favorite team did last night (it learns that from your search behavior). It also notices when you are not at home and shows you how long it’ll take you to get back to your house, or, if you are travelling, presents you with a list of nearby attractions you may be interested in, the value of the local currency, the time back home and easy access to Google Translate.
In a post-PC world, it’s not hard to understand the vast potential value of a personalized technological companion who can help you navigate an increasingly busy and complex world. With what Google knows about you via email, Web-surfing habits, social connections via Plus, and the like, Google Now may in fact be a game-changer.
Implications for Big Data
But you can only do so much on your Android device. What if you could see things? What if wearable technology and augmented reality could make your life even easier (or creepy, depending on your point of view)? Enter Google’s Project Glass, a pet project of Sergey Brin.
If you think that data is big now, get ready for Really Big Data. What if you could just think about recording a walk in Paris and publish it to YouTube in the process? What if you could review a product on Yelp by talking to yourself at the store? Perhaps speech-to-text technology would then publish that review automatically? Maybe your car will drive you to your next appointment on your Google calendar.
Does this sound Kurzweilian? It should. Google just hired the legendary futurist.
The implications are nearly limitless. As technology continues to evolve into heretofore “protected” areas, more and more data will be generated. Companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, and Google have the compute power and storage capacity to actually do something with this data. Machine learning, text analytics, natural language processing, and other
The enabling technologies behind Big Data are getting better every day. We’re just getting started. Your organization ought to be preparing for a data-driven world right now. If not, it may very well fall and not get up.
What say you?
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