Recently I did a Pro Tip piece on how to send directions to your Android device from within a Google Search page (see "Pro Tip: Quickly send directions to your Android phone from your desktop"). Not 24 hours after I did that piece, did I discover that Google had other tricks up their sleeve ─ namely, the ability to send both messages and alarms from a Chrome desktop browser to your Android device:
- send a note
- set an alarm
From within a browser you can send yourself a note or set yourself an alarm—without having to leave the efficiency of your desktop keyboard. Although these features aren't exactly life and game changing, they do clearly make a case for Google "getting" mobility more than any other company.
To appreciate this statement, one must first understand what mobility is. The Merriam Webster defines mobility:
- capable of moving or being moved about readily
- characterized by an extreme degree of fluidity
Within the world of technology, we all know that mobility is the technology which enables us to move about readily and with an extreme degree of fluidity. If there is one thing that the confluence of Android, Google, and Chrome OS has proved, it's that Google gets this. With these new "micro features" the search/mobile giant has added to their ecosystem, they draw ever more near a perfectly unified, mobile experience.
To Google, "mobile" doesn't begin and end with the handheld device. This isn't a single dot on a map, it's a round-trip affair that takes in every possible device you can own. It's your desktop, your laptop, your smartphone, your tablet, your thermostat, your appliances, your car, your glasses ... there may be no end in sight at what will be picked up by this kinetic force of mobility. Along the way, the Google micro features will pile on until the beginning and end of one device becomes impossible to discern.
That is mobility, my friends. When I can open a desktop web browser and effortlessly send data to my phone, adjust my thermostat from anywhere in the world. When the interconnectivity of devices and data becomes so seamless, it doesn't matter on what device our fingers type.
From my perspective, here are a few more micro features that Google can add to their search-to-mobile set:
- place a call
- send a text
- edit a contact
- check android update
- send song/movie/file
You see how this can go. But what might even be better ... is continuing the circuit by making this a two-way connection so that, from your mobile device, you can access features on or send data to your desktop/laptop/tablet. Once Google manages this feat, they will be crowned the King of Mobility.
That, of course, assumes the desktop still holds any semblance of relevance by the time this perfect storm of mobility is realized.
Yes. You read it correctly. The idea that the desktop could lose its relevancy is not something to be scoffed at or easily dismissed. A growing percentage of consumers view the net with their phones. Millennials? They don't need the old-school form factor. Everything they require fits neatly in the palm of their hands. Desktops? Laptops? Who needs them? Consumers are quickly voting with the dollars against the desk-tethered tech.
But what about business? Business is a different story, one which will continue to rely on the desktop form factor for years to come. But, much to the chagrin of a number of companies, business is no longer the primary driving force for innovation. Nor is the desktop. Innovation rests squarely in the hands of the mobile device ─ and Google gets this better than any other company, which is why the Android platform is slowly reaching its robotic tendrils out in an effort to interconnect everything everywhere.
From my perspective, this is not a bad thing. Mobility is that which makes us more efficient, more connected, more aware. Some may call this nothing more than a "big data grab". That Google only adds such features to dig even deeper into our private lives. I would say we are way past that inciting incident. Big data already has our information and the ubiquitous it doesn't really care that we're sending ourselves messages from desktop to phone to "Remember to pay the utilities". This is an instance where Google is simply making its ecosystem more and more efficient for end users. How can that not be a win-win?
What do you think? Do these "micro features" help to make Google the king of mobility? Or does the search giant have a long way to go before it can claim that crown?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.