Google's Deep Shot patent: It's all about the screens

Google's Deep Shot patent: It's all about the screens

Summary: Now there's a use for the Google ecosystem!

TOPICS: Google, Legal

How many screens do you use each day? Your phone? Your computer? Your second computer? Your kid's netbook? A connected TV? A tablet? A refrigerator? (yes, a refrigerator). A new patent reported today on Patentbolt could link all of these screens via mobile cameras like never before, making the Google ecosystem even more attractive, even as it becomes more intrusive.

The idea behind Google's so-called "Deep Shot" is that the state of any web application (or, at least Internet-connected application) could be captured on a mobile phone using its built-in camera and then replicated elsewhere, using what appears to be a very sophisticated, personalized version of Google's Goggles technology. According to Patentbolt,

Basically the technology works like this: A user takes a picture of a website like Google Maps on their desktop with a smartphone which then enables the user to open the site in the same state on their phone. Not as a static photo, but as a fully interactive map like the one on their desktop...

Computer users transition frequently between these devices, for example, leaving their personal computer in their office during lunch and carrying their smartphone with them.

Deep Shot would enable everything from continuation of a console or PC game onto a mobile device to immediate access to a movie that you were watching on a connected TV and wanted to continue from that point on your tablet. Take a picture of the screen and Deep Shot does the rest. The patent includes a schematic of how Google expects this to work:

This is actually quite brilliant, but, as with all things Google does that are pretty awesome, useful, and disruptive, it means that Google will be carefully analyzing pictures you take, looking across services (both within Google and at third parties), and using its vast data stores and processing power to know you better and make connections for you. This technology is still somewhat immature; a few demonstrations of Deep Shot at fairly basic levels interacting with Maps and other Google ecosystem sites are making the rounds. However, the potential is obviously quite vast to gather new visual, usage, and account-related data on users, far beyond what they've been able to do with search and browsing.

Regular readers of my contributions on ZDNet know that I will happily embrace this and open myself up to Google even further for the sake of convenience and technical wizardry. I'm just that sort of guy and I do it with the full knowledge and consent of the myriad ways that Google will ultimately use this to make money off of me. Users who spend a bit less time living, eating, and breathing Google should keep in mind the privacy issues around the latest technology we can expect to see rolling out of Mountain View in the months and years ahead and decide for themselves if the convenience is worth the price of admission (of course, this service will no doubt be free, but nothing is ever really free, is it?).

We'll be sure to post updates when this tech gets out of the patent office and onto a phone near you.

Topics: Google, Legal

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • Master Joe Says...Familiar

    Doesn't this seem like the functionality that HP had in its webOS phone and the TouchPad (however brief it was around), only expanded a bit? It used to be that placing your webOS phone voer top of the TouchPad would sync whatever you were doing on the phone to the tablet. This just seems like that same idea, only expanded. With the troubles HP is having, I wouldn't be totally shocked to at least see this brought up as a patent infringement lawsuit. Whether it holds up or not is certainly another story.

    --Master Joe
    • Sounds like the consulting thing isn't paying off as well as expected

      [i]This is actually quite brilliant, but, as with all things Google does that are pretty awesome, useful, and disruptive[[/i]

      Sounds like Chris is back over-hyping and hawking Google as well as any Google rep.

      Hmmmm, I wonder...
      William Farrel
      • Yeah Chris is really kissing Googles butt here.

        But then again I think that line was done to incite people to post...and it seems to have worked!

        "awesome, useful, and disruptive" .... whatever....
    • It depends

      Google is using a camera to take photo of the screen and then analyse that photo and figure out what you were doing on your previous screen and recreate on you phone.

      Now WebOS may have done thing through different means such blue tooth transfering the settings. However this likely means that this would only work with Web OS hardware or with hardware with compatible software. Google system could use any operating system Goggles on to do it. Both have there upside and downsides, Google systems will require hell of alot more processing, WebOS needs to be on all your devices for it system to work.
    • Wow

      I could not imagine a better representation of your complete failure to understand simple concepts than this fine example.
      Made all the more ridiculous by your pompous bloviating insistence on eponymously titling every post you make.
      FTR, while the technology in this patent is absurd, for reasons pointed out by others below, this is NOTHING like tech used in webOS, which does a wireless device to device data exchange.
  • Free ?

    As long as it free at the point of use I do not really care about anything else. People with money to spare can go and buy in non adverts funded services if they want to, I am happy to let adverts pay for mine.
  • Nice Concept

    If you want the functionality install the Google add-ons.
    A bit more versatile than same OS on each device (Win8)....

    Not bad - I'm game for this....
  • Wow....

    This is a pretty cool extension of the Google Googles concept. If this can actually be executed without too many bugs, Google could really be on to something.
  • Why not

    just sync the URL? Apps on a desktop machine won't be available on a mobile or tablet and vice versa, but a URL is a URL. Synching the URLs is more efficient and works in both directions.
    • Please Re-Read

      They are synching a moment in time, and, stealing everything else showing in your photo!
    • Chrome to Phone

      You can already do a "URL Sync" with with Chrome to Phone. This is a little more involved than just a URL sync.
  • Another trap to collect personal info.

    The fact that they make 95 percent of their income on ads, and with their 'unified' privacy policy, any new 'invention' is more worrying to users.
  • Just be evil

    Now they want to see where I am, what I am doing so they can sell the info for money. Deep Shot = Deep Shit they can listen in on your phone now, and they do! so why do they want the camera too because they can.... keep your privacy and be safer Google is in bed with NSA/FBI/DHS and anyone who pays them enough money for the data.
    • So don't use it!

      Who's forcing you?
  • too funny

    how long is it going to take to sync up to the right frame on Groundhog Day??
  • hmm

    Sounds like they are using Optical Image recognition to load up the same Google app on your Android phone, almost like a really advanced QR code.
  • So, What's the Point?

    If I am the 'recognized user' of an instance of a web connected app, isn't it much easier to record / recognize the app state and associate that with me as the user through the Internet backend rather than taking a screen image via a separate device and then using clever software to puzzle-out information that is otherwise immediately available?

    Now, if the idea is to allow my cell phone to capture the screen image of someone else's instance of an app, then let me pick-up that instance on another device simply by grabbing the other user's screen image, that would be really cool, in a James Bond sort of way, but again, I don't see this as something we would really want to do 'at scale'...

    An implementation more nearly resembling Apple's iCloud service would seem much easier, more efficient and more secure. If an app stores its data and state in the cloud, then another instance of the app, owned by the same user has immediate access to the app state and data on any device. By way of example, consider how Pages, the Apple word processing app functions across iOS and OS X instances via iCloud. In the present implementation, both data and app-state for individual documents is sync'ed across devices. After editing document 'A' on my Mac, I can return to the same document and app-state on my iPad by simply launching the Pages app in the iPad and selecting the subject document, assuming that this document was not the one most recently in use on my iPad. In this case, the full 'Deep Shot' functionality would be realized, without the trouble of photographing screens, by sync'ing the document in use (e.g. Document 'A') across my devices.

    Deep Shot seems to me a really, really hard way to do something that otherwise should be easy and straightforward.
  • What's you want ! Come on !

    You can already do a "URL Sync" with with Chrome to Phone. This is a little more involved than just a URL sync.