One of the best gifts I have given is a framed collage of birth places at birth dates. I took a screenshot of the place that my aunt was born at on the day she was born, so Ahmedabad as it looked the day she was born. Her family members are all born in different cities and countries, so it makes for a really fun piece to have in their house.
These screenshots are from Google Earth. It is increadible how much Earth imagery Google has collected over the last 37 years – the last year available on it is 1984.
Google has now used that data and come up with a very interesting new feature – timelapse. Timelapse in itself is not a new concept. But put to use to show the passing of time focused on a particular region makes for some beautiful videos. Albeit a little heartbreaking at times.
You can use the timelapse feature for any area, but Google Earth gives a few configured – Urban Expansion, showing how Las Vegas has grown over the years, and Warming Planet that shows the melting of the Columbia Glacier. The timelapses shine a light on how our planet is affected over time and the changes that it has gone through.
The message is clear, we have to take care of the planet or we may soon out grow it.
Familiar and old technology getting new ways to be useful, and insightful if why this column exists.
That brings us to what the Google Assistant can now (and eventually) do. The technology that powers Google Duplex – the thing that can call restaurants and hairdressers to get an appointment for you – is now being put to use inside Assistant to fill out your details when you order food.
Once you search for a restaurant on the Google app – provided the restaurant has partnered with Google for this feature – pick your order and then choose the Assitant so it can fill up your contact details and payment details from Google Chrome autofill and Google Pay. This feature sounds less cool compared to all the things that Duplex promised earlier but well, at least it is being put to good use.
The feature works well especially when you don’t want to install a specific food ordering app and it is restaurant you rarely order from – you know when you travel somewhere, a concept we have forgot right now.
Other Assistant feature that’s coming is automated smart home routines that are based on sunrise and sunset.
And last thing for the day: Apple has a special event next week – most likely a hardware event. Before they announced it, Siri announced it when you ask, “when is the next Apple event”. I propose all tech events be annouced like this. The new hardware that’s coming is the new iPad with mini LEDs, and may be the AirTags, their Tile competitors. All in all, one more virtual tech event that will flaunt their production prowess.
Wash your hands, wear a mask and sanitize your hands. More, next week!