“Ground team come in”. “Beaming down”, “Report to the Bridge”… these are all phrases many Trekkies will already be familiar with hearing, as they (or derivatives of them) have been uttered in many of the episodes of Star Trek over the years. While the phrases might be somewhat iconic themselves, think “Beam me up Scotty”, what is more iconic (at least from the Trekkie perspective) is the communicator. This is the device which many of the Starfleet officers use to communicate with each other while onboard, communicate with the ground team or advise that they are ready to “energize”. If all of this is starting to sound a little over your head, then don’t worry, you are probably not alone. Although one person this will ring familiar with is Amit Singhal, a Google Senior VP who is largely focused on Google Search. Singhal is not only concerned with bettering the Search experience from the plethora of devices, but also with Star Trek. A combination which seemed inevitably likely to overlap at some point in time.
In the early Star Trek episodes, the communicator came in the form of a handheld device, much like a walkie talkie or a mobile phone. While later on, the use of the communicator became integrated into the Starfleet bridge which is worn on the uniforms and subsequently, became known as the ‘Communicator Badge’, or ‘Comms Badge’ for short. And based on an interview given to TIME, it seems it was this interpretation of the communicator which Singhal had hoped to emulate at Google. Singhal’s version reportedly consisted of a Bluetooth-enabled lapel pin. The pin was further equipped with a microphone and was able to be activated with the use of a single tap – again, much like the communicator. Of course, this one did not connect to a starship, but did allow for connection to your Google Now, so you could quickly ask a question without having to find your smartphone.
For those thinking that this sounds like something they would certainly be interesting in picking up, unfortunately, this seems to be one of the products which never made it passed the testing phase. Although, it does provide some insight into how Google is looking towards the next generation of Google Now-enabled and Search oriented products.