Google Now offers glimpse of where the search giant is headed

February 10, 2013

Google Translate has many languages to work with and plenty of computer horsepower behind it. Thinking about its methods reminds me that Ray Kurzweil has now gone to work for Google. Kurzweil is an Edisonian figure who came up with the first flatbed scanner and the first machine that could read text aloud. He has created music synthesizers and made huge strides in PC speech recognition, the sort of thing that allows us to dictate while the computer “types.”

In books like The Singularity Is Near, Kurzweil probes what happens when computers become so much smarter than us that they move beyond our powers of prediction.

Meeting your needs. It’s fascinating to speculate on what Google might come up with given the aid of someone like Kurzweil, who for all the controversial aspects of his thinking has shown he has a way of producing results. We may get a glimpse of future direction in Google Now, an already functioning product that is in some ways a response to Apple’s Siri, the virtual assistant built into iPhones. […]