More about those robots

November 16, 2010

The world is changing and what we have seen in sci-fi movies will become reality soon enough.

How many times have we seen on-screen cars which drive themselves?

Well our friends at Google have been experimenting with one on the roads of California.

I have mentioned robots before and how they are set to change our lives for the better – in ways beyond which cars / phones / PCs and the internet have already.

When my solar-powered car will drive me about and I can read or sleep en route I will be a happy man.

Right Google, what about a teleport?

Imagine a world where you approach a landmark and its local webpage pops up in front of you (broadcast from its local server) explaining the history of the place, outlining key facts and generally being your local tourist guide.

There is also a visitors book page where you can read what others have said and leave your own message – either by voice or thru the kep pad of your mobile device (cell phone / laptop / iPad – like device).

Buildings will have their own local pages, telling you what their function is, what historic value they have, where the main entrance is, who built it, where the baby change facilities are, what phone number to use to call in.

You’ll also be able to join its Facebook page, subscribe to its Twitter feed. If you are in a shopping mall, the stores will be able to give you details about their special offers (altho you may have to opt in to these – kind of like leaving your Bluetooth on).

Bus stops will offer traffic info and current bus locations (via GPS) and ETAs in real-time.

If you want directions, you only need to know the postcode and arrows will point you in the right direction – like existing sat nav, but without the physical device in your car. It’ll be like in a video game when arrows in the sky point when you are going the wrong way. Instead of making devices, sat nav companies will just release apps (unless Google maps has already made them redundant by then).

This meshing of the web and the real is something I am looking forward to.

Recently, one of the key bits of tech to make this happen was shown off. There is no date for release yet – and no idea yet when the rest of the infrastructure will be in place to make it all work, but it isn’t that far away.

Google, the web giant, have an application called Google Books.

There was a court case not so long ago. And read what Google say about the court case too.

What long-term effect this will all have on publishing remains to be seen, but I am sure there will be changes. Google are the kings of free content are they not?

At present, copyright holders can upload their work and limit access to bits of the material. They can choose to allow access to all of the material if they wish and restrict download, again if they wish.

Google Books then links to places such as Amazon where you can purchase the book you have tried out on their site.

I imagine, the book sellers linked to from the Google Books page pay some commission to Google for the sales made via these links.

I assume, at some point Google will also (if it hasn’t already) further monetize this section of its empire through some kind of advertiser paid search facility.

I am not sure exactly how Google Books will change the publishing industry, as I have mentioned before there is so much else already happening in the industry. Is this the most significant change, or is it just one of many, many changes that will add together to change the industry?

Right now, I am not sure any of us can answer with that much certainty.

What I can say is, at present, I see no reason to be against what Google are doing.

You can have a read of extracts of my books using Google Books and if you like what you see click the link and buy it.

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