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.