Google patents a device to let you search your entire life
Despite what Microsoft wants you to think, Google is the undisputed ruler of search. It knows everything. It knows where you are and what your plans are, and even saves your images into little scrapbooks for you to remember. So it should come as absolutely no surprise that Google is looking into letting you search your entire life history.
According to a patent filed with the US Patent Office, Google is looking to develop a “method and apparatus for enabling a searchable history of real-world user experiences”. It appears that the device will capture video and audio through a “mobile computing device” and then upload that information to a cloud service – such as Google Drive – to be viewed later.
The transmitted data could also be analysed by Google, becoming searchable in the process. Google would be able to recognise friends and family as well as places and objects too, in a similar way to how Google Photos works. You’d be able to ask Google what you had been up to on that hazy bender the night before, what you were doing this time last year, or even “what were the paintings I saw when I was on holiday in Paris?”
The patent also describes sharing information with others, perhaps via social networks. It doesn’t sound like an automatic function, but instead one that works through a “tagging” system, letting Google know you’re happy to share the memories. These shared memories, according to the patent, will allow users to ask questions like “where were my friends last night?”, or “what did John see on vacation?”. An interesting use for this sort of functionality is “shared” memories for business applications, such as footage from a security guard or airport-security staff.
Google already has a device perfect for such an application: Google Glass. It has a built-in camera and microphone, connects to your smartphone so it can upload captured footage, and it’s removable – as is Google’s proposed device. It’s quite feasible that this technology could be present in the next iteration of Google Glass, whenever that may be.
There’s something incredibly unsettling about Google’s new device, and it’s already been imagined in Charlie Brooker’s dystopian science-fiction Black Mirror episode “The Entire History of You”. Here, we see a device implanted into everybody that allows them to view everything they’ve ever seen and rewatch it again and again. As you may have guessed, never being able to forget anything doesn’t go down too well.
While Google’s device is removable and therefore completely optional, perhaps some things are still best left forgotten.