08 December 2010

Augmented Reality = the Cloud + Devices

Recently my good friend, Roy Kimbrell, wrote me about Google's latest Chrome announcement:
I was able to watch a few minutes of Google's live webcast of their announcement of their newest version of Chrome.  I am very impressed.  The biggest deal is the app store - apps that run in Chrome.  You may need to log-in to Google first (don't know, I use Gmail, so login is kinda automatic).  
During Google's presentation, they demo'd some of the apps.  Some are free, others are cheap.  The NPR app is free - and very nice.  Install it (just a few seconds) and click on the NPR app.  At the bottom you can click on the buttons to listen to the hourly news or their programs.

The Poppit game is fun - like popping bubble wrap, very addictive.

This is the future of the Web, I think.  This is Android and will be the netbooks when ChromOS is done - in beta now.
And another old fiend, Steve McIlree, responded
I was reading an announcement of Chrome 8 when it occurred to me to wonder if I had it yet. So I checked "About" and found I was using version 8.0.552.215. That's the way updates should be done. No muss, no fuss, no download notices, no restarting the app, no reboot; just, "Oh, I'm running the latest version"!

I have hopes that Apple and Google will basically become two flavors of this new world of augmented cloud computing.  (And maybe MSFT which is showing signs of life)  Eric Schmidt has said that where they disagree w/ Apple, is the idea of running any apps on the device.   Personally, I see a world where most of the apps run in the cloud, with device caching and stashing (optimistic pre-provisioning of data) available for speed and off-line usefullness.  However, in about 10 years, wide area wireless (WiMax et al) is going to be pretty assumable.  So net based apps are a very reasonable thing.  Running apps in the cloud in nice, comfy, powerful, secure servers makes everything a whole lot easier.  Plus then you can move from device to device and room to room or house to house and your context is maintained. I think this is what some people call "presence".

To the point of wireless everywhere, I am sitting in a condo in WinterPark.  The condo is nice, but old, and the lamers haven't put broadband everywhere.  This is unusual, since most people come equiped with WiFi devices to help them check out the weather, and the food, and maps and stuff.  Fortunately, my company had given me a Verizon modem that sticks in a USB port on my laptop.   It's pretty decent, up to 1 mb at times.  This device is actually obsolete.  For the serious road warriors, the company now just gives them Verizon hotspots.  These are little hockey puck like things that magically connect into the Verizon network and give up to four people WiFi access.  That means they work great with not only laptops but iPhones, iPods, IPads, Android phones, gameboys, Rokus - whatever.  Sprint/Clearwire offers the same thing w/ WiMax where availabe; Sprint 3G everywhere else.  I think Verizon is going to offer a similar hotspot next year.

Regarding the future, David Siegel's Pull is lots of fun to read about the future of pull data and cloud computing.  He has about a dozen interesting ideas per page.  It reads like science fiction.

And finally, I am reading Kevin Kelly's much hyped What Technology Wants  It is very good to read, especially if you are into evolution.  He has some Very Big Ideas that seem pretty well reasoned to me.  This book is sort of the next step beyond Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near.  Kelley tackles head on the effect of humans on evolution, and the difference between information and biology.  He makes me feel a little more comfortable with the Brave New World.  I believe in the silicon future of evolution, but Kelly explains how and why we'll get there from a cultural point of view, rather than Kurzweil's mechanistic view.

In a recent interview, the famous sci-fi writer William Gibson says that their is no such thing as cyberspace anymore. 
"Cyberspace is colonising what we used to think of as the real world," he said. "I think that our grandchildren will probably regard the distinction we make between what we call the real world and what they think of as simply the world as the quaintest and most incomprehensible thing about us."
"The prefix cyber is going the way of the prefix electro," he said.
I think they used to call it augmented reality.   Well, boy, we are sure living in an augmented reality.

1 comment:

Zincman said...

I read recently that in about two years, mobile computing devices will outnumber "fixed" devices such as laptops and the old tower PC's. These mobile devices are cell phones, pads, and net-books.

Microsoft is doing terrible in this arena. That's encouraging, because it opens competition. Plus I think Microsoft sucks, but that's just personal. If you have lots of Microsoft stock, you might consider selling pretty soon.

I loaded ChromeOS (the operating system that includes the Chrome browser) onto a little Dell Mini 9 net book a couple of months ago. That was, of course, before the recent announcement of the new Chrome and of the app store.

Still, it has the basics: email (I use Gmail), office applications (Google Docs, spreadsheet, presentations, and lots of other office stuff), and a lot of other applications. The office applications are useful for almost anything you want to do at home. They're useful for businesses who don't need to produce highly formatted documents such as books, proposals, and glossies.

The new Google net-book is supposed to be out in a few months.

At the same time, I upgraded a couple of machines to the newest Ubuntu release - using their Ubuntu Netbook Edition. Very nice as well. It's the most recent Ubuntu (10.10), but the desktop is an alternate format - more suited to a net-book. Nicely done: easy to use, pretty, and fast.

I suspect the Ubuntu Netbook Edition will eventually be a competitor to Google's ChromeOS. A hardware developer (Dell, Samsung, HP, etc.) might pick this to differentiate themselves from the competition. And ... Chrome (the browser) runs on this. So you get the whole Google NetApp universe.

Zincman is Roy Kimbrell
Regards all