It’s the first brand ever to top T3’s Hot 100, but everything you do this year will be touched by the omnipresent tech behemoth, with its web-enabled fingers in a host of increasingly hot pies…
Despite not actually being available to consumers, Glass is still the wearable on everyone’s lips (well, ears, eventually). Indeed, there hasn’t been a more divisive major tech product in years, with laws and social etiquette being reconsidered on the fly. But the best tech innovations always ignite heated debate, and Glass’s extremely thorough beta testing is reaping real-time rewards. The Glass 2.0 update is expected on sale this year, with a mono ear bud for audio, Google Now integration, a selection of more traditional rounded frames and apps you might actually want to use (you listening, smartglass copycats?), as well as lenses that work for real spec wearers.
Could this be the future of smartphones? The first of the big G’s new research projects is a five-inch handset that maps your surroundings while inside using infrared sensors to build an accurate 3D picture like the Google Maps of interiors. It’s ground-breaking stuff, with developers already working on apps to utilise its smarts – may we suggest a “find your way out of a Las Vegas casino” app in time for CES 2015 please?
Google at home
The “internet of things”, so hot it had its own entry this year, has Google at the forefront, having bought Nest, the app-controlled thermostat and smoke alarm purveyor that was struggling to expand out of the US; no more. There’s also the Chromecast TV dongle that will be making UK tellies more internet-ready.
Google at work
With the maturation of Google Docs workflow and its Drive cloud services, browser-based Chrome OS laptops are making a lot more sense; the Samsung Chromebook 2 was a steal for under 200 notes. Yet it’s the new range of easy-setup, low-cost Chromeboxes that will be the real office saviours.
Not content with the majority of the phone market, Android tablets outsold iPads for the first time this March. With Android 5.0 promising a new look, and the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 signed up, the heat’s really on.
It’s more than likely that your next drive will be Android-powered. After all, the Open Automotive Alliance, which saw Google sign a deal with the likes of General Motors and Audi, aims for seamless integration with their mobile operating system starting this year. With the firm’s own autonomous car project also underway, how long before you’re calling your Android drone car to come and pick you up from the pub rather than your irate partner?
Playing Frankenstein with the phone again, this modular, open-hardware project lets people build their own handset from bits they can afford. It’s not a dream, either: developer conferences begin soon, with handsets expected to cost $50.
The search doodle is no longer just fun, it’s a statement, with the Sochi Olympics banner rainbow taking a stand against Russia’s gay-rights record. What’s next?
Director of engineering Ray Kurzweil reckons computers will outsmart us puny humans by 2029. He’s well on his way to finding out, too, with the firm buying military ’bot makers Boston Dynamics and AI firm Deep Mind. Currently in the Google X Lab: floating Wi-Fi routers built into balloons and contact lens-sized heads-up displays. Meanwhile, Google big-wigs Brin, Page and Schmidt are getting in on the hottest of future trends: asteroid mining
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