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Future mobile phones 'will work' for us

Sat, Sep 27, 2014, 02:15 PM
San Francisco, Sep 27 : Baris Gultekin, the engineer who developed Google Now, a sort of "personal assistant" for users, imagines a future in which mobile phones "will work" for us and will give us useful information without having to ask for it.

"We call today's phones smart, but in reality they are not. They don't do things for you. They have to be constantly told what they have to do," Gultekin said in an interview with Efe news agency at Google headquarters in California.

According to Gultekin, Google Now "can change the future".

"We are in the beginning stage of something that can be phenomenal," the engineer said.

Considered as a rival to Siri, an application by Apple for the iOS operating system which responds to the questions of users and gives recommendations, Google Now is focussed on helping in the management of daily tasks, as well as offering travel information and leisure activities such as sports and movies.

"We started this project in parallel with another engineer," Gultekin said, adding that Google Now feeds on other Google services, like "gmail" and "maps", and offers information based on the context of the person using it, for which the physical location of the user can be key.

"We can give a traffic update for your everyday travel to work... or the weather forecast just when you wake up," said the engineer, who believes that the technology should help make people's life easier and not stand in their way when not needed.

"Or, if you are planning a trip and want to remember the time of your flight, the information will be provided without even asking, when you land, or heading to a hotel, the same thing. You will not need to search your 'gmail' for the reservation number," he added.

Gultekin believes that the evolution of Google search has made the emergence of Google Now possible.

The search started offering a series of links to websites related to a series of words and took a step forward by adding images and videos to the web pages.

The third big step came with what Google called the "knowledge graph" which offers structured and detailed information about a topic, and also, links to other sites.

The objective is that users utilise that information to solve their problems without having to navigate to other places for the information needed.

"What knowledge graph does is understand different things and the relation between them" and helps finding answers quickly, Gultekin said.

For the engineer, Google Now is the next step in that evolution, offering answers even before one looks for them.

If the service knows that only a few hours are left for a flight, it will share the trip information with the user by itself, or if it knows that the phone owner has a meeting at a certain time and there is a problem with public transport, it will recommend a new route.
Agency: IANS
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