What is technology about? Well obviously that question can have several answers, none of which would be incorrect, but at its heart it’s there as a whole to solve problems. To make our lives easier than they would be if we were sat around a camp fire sharpening spears and grunting at one another, right?

Well somewhere along the way a lot of that essence was lost, and ever since we’ve been having products that are more or less clones of the last generation being forced upon us from various vendors and very little innovation.

According to reports, though, Google is going back to those roots at its top secret projects lab, mysteriously named Google X. This lab is said to be where the likes of Larry Page and Sergey Brin work on all sorts of weird and wonderful things that could help transform the way we live our lives. The exact location of Google X is obviously unknown to us mere mortals, but according to the reports in the New York Times, it’s somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

[email protected]

It is reported that many of the ideas being concocted are a part of the [email protected] project that was announced already this year, with the intention of making objects around your house a lot smarter and more connected to the Internet and subsequently one another. For example, at Google’s I/O conference this year, the company already announced a web-connected light bulb that can transmit data to your Android phone.

Obviously that’s quite a relatively small project, barely justifying a top-secret location to work on it, but on the other extremity, it’s said they’re also working on robots that can help you around the house or the office, doing the tasks that you quite simply don’t want to. It’s all about making your life or your work easier through the use of technology, and its also about making their jobs easier, too, as its further reported that they could possibly use robots to photograph the streets for Google Maps, so humans don’t have to.

“We want to think of every appliance in your home as a potential I/O device,” said Google’s Joe Britt. so for example your oven or your fridge could transmit data to your smartphone telling you when you’re low on food, or your dinner is cooked to perfection. Or even order your shopping online for you based on the contents of your fridge.

Power of Technology

“I just feel like people aren’t working enough on impactful things. People are really afraid of failure on things, and so it’s hard for them to do ambitious stuff. And also, they don’t realize the power of technological solutions to things, especially computers.”

That’s a quote from Google co-founder Larry Page in Steven Levy’s book on the company, ‘In the Plex’, and effectively it goes back to what I was saying at the start that the power of technology is completely under-utilised, and on a little personal side rant, I’m actually quite fed of up multi-billion dollar companies churning out second rate products that guarantee them decent profit margins and sustainability, but not actually allowing us to do anything more with them than we could before.

A little bump in the spec of a PC doesn’t drastically change the way we use them. Yes we might be able to render videos or convert audio a little faster, or play the latest video games for about a week before a new one comes out. In effect, the innovation has been left solely down to the software companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft, but in reality it needs a combination of both to be the most innovative. Tablets haven’t really proved the next step in computing hardware, just an intermediary.

Final Thoughts
So maybe Google has the answer in this Android @ Home project, and whatever else is going on at the mysterious Google X lab in California. And the talk is that one of these products will be released this year, though that could well just be the lightbulb I mentioned earlier. What we need is a drastic change in the interaction and form of our technology, such as robots or driverless cars safe and retailing, before we can call it proper innovation in computers and technology.