Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Did McKinsey predict Google Now?

From a business perspective, one of the key publication on the phenomenon is the McKinsey report entitled, "Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity". Although the report does not specifically mention Google, it predicted that Big Data would enable personal productivity and noted the following example to support its case:

"An example is a mobile phone that has learned its owner’s habits and preferences, that holds applications and data tailored to that particular user’s needs, and that will therefore be more valuable than a new device that is not customized to a user’s needs"

Well McKinsey was right on the money as Google introduced "Google Now", which would announce scores of one's favourite sports team - based on the person's search history. However, where does Big Data fit into this?

One of the applications that really illustrates the power of Google Now is the linking of traffic data to one's calendar to inform the person that they are going to be late for a meeting due to traffic issues. The video here lists other features:

The price for this (of course) is giving up one's personal data.

Regardless, it illustrates how Big Data is being a ubiquitous part of life. One other Google product that was released at their recent I/O conference in May, is the ability to use speech to search for things.

As you watch the video, you can almost see the wheels churning in the background to process the query. (I was able to replicate the voice search in my Chrome browser, but was not able to get it to do a context search. But I am not sure if I had to enable something to do that)

This ability to process query by voice, of course, will be quite useful for the upcoming Google Glass (I wrote earlier about it here), which is expected to be released in 2014.

However, it must be repeated that McKinsey was dead on the money with this one. 

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