Google Contextual Search: Next Big Thing?

Google could extend its reach by finding ways to deliver information that people don’t currently use a search engine to find, according to MIT’s Technology Review.

Google is already taking the first steps in this direction. Google Now offers unsolicited directions, weather forecasts, flight updates, and other information when it thinks you need them (see “Google’s Answer to Siri Thinks Ahead”).

Google Glass could also provide an opportunity to preëmptively answer questions or provide useful information.

Google may be heading toward a new kind of search, one that is very different from the service it started with, says Jonas Michel, a researcher working on similar ideas at the University of Texas at Austin.

“In the future you might want to search very new information from the physical environment,” Michel says. “Your information needs are very localized to that place and event and moment.”

Michel is one of several researchers working on an alternative solution—a search engine for mobile devices dubbed Gander, which communicates directly with local sensors. A pilot being installed on the University of Texas campus will, starting early next year, allow students to find out wait times at different cafés and restaurants, or find the nearest person working on the same assignment.

Contextual information provided by mobile devices—via GPS chips and other sensors—can provide clues about a person and his situation, allowing Google to guess what that person wants.

In other news, Daintree Networks hopes to expand the adoption of wireless ZigBee-based lighting-control networks by offering open-source firmware for solid-state lighting.

ZigBee Light Link is a ZigBee standard, lighting products will interoperate effortlessly with products using other ZigBee standards already in consumers’ homes, including ZigBee Home Automation, ZigBee Input Device, ZigBee Remote Control and ZigBee Health Care.

LIFX is Kickstarter project for a WiFi enabled, multi-color, energy efficient LED light bulb that you control with your iPhone or Android.

The ZigBee Alliance enables machine-to- machine (M2M) communications with a thriving global ecosystem of 400+ companies developing standards and producing products. The Alliance, established in October 2002, creates global standards to connect the widest range of devices into secure, low-cost, low-power and easy-to-use wireless sensor and control networks. Today, nine interoperable standards target different wireless device applications.

The IEEE 802.15.4 standard is the basis for ZigBee. The basic framework conceives a 10-meter communications range with a transfer rate of 250 kbit/s using the unlicensed 868/915 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands.

Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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