Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Feb 2014 12:31 UTC

John Gruber, on Google's Project Tango:

Google is starting to remind me of Apple in the '90s: announcing more cool R&D prototypes than they release actual cool products. Even the R&D team names are similar - Google's is called "Advanced Technology and Projects"; Apple's was called "Advanced Technology Group".

Funny. Google's 'moonshots' actually remind me more of another R&D-focused company. Interestingly enough, without that company, the computer industry would have been set back decades, and Apple would most likely have been reduced to a footnote in computer history.

I would rather large companies spend their cash on potentially awesome research that may (or may not) advance computer technology and the human race, than have them stash it away in shady overseas bank accounts.

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Comment by Flatland_Spider
by Flatland_Spider on Wed 26th Feb 2014 20:34 UTC
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Companies are there to make money, and while research helps them achieve this goal, they need to get a return on their investment. Most companies don't have the resources to spend money of pet projects. However those that do, need to find ways to turn the research into a product.

As for Project Tango, this is probably an off shoot of the self-driving car initiative."&... looks strangely familiar from the various explanations of the self-driving car technology, and Project Tango is probably the first step to making a product out of that technology. Most states aren't going to let self-driving cars on the road, so this would be the next best thing to an extended prototype phase.

There are a couple of things Google gets out of this. The first is a large data set of spacial data. AI needs datasets, and building this into Android would make everyone a walking data collector.

The second is testing algorithms. People can quite quickly tell that something is off, and people QA'ing the created models would produce higher quality data.

The third is Google Maps. Once again everyone is a walking data collector. Google gets the GPS location and spacial data of wherever the person goes. Soon we would be able to use Google Maps to navigate the local shopping mall even though Google has never been there.

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