Sundar Pichai has been promoted through the ranks at Google to the position of Chief Executive and earlier this week wrote a letter to the shareholders of the parent business, Alphabet. One of the points he makes regards the future of computers and how we, as the human race, will interact with the technology. It is no surprise that Sundar's vision for the future is in how software may be developed rather than the hardware. He does not see the physical device as being important but instead it is simply the means of interacting with the software. Ultimately, Google is a software company rather than a box builder and the Android operating system is just one way to access Google's products and services, such as Gmail, Google Now and Google Maps. Essentially, Sundar expects that "the very concept of the 'device' to fade away … over time, the computer itself – whatever its form factor – will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day."
We've seen how the Google founders wish to turn computing technology as seen today closer to the glimpse of the future we see from science fiction shows and movies such as Star Trek. Here, the main way of interacting with the computer is to talk to it. We've already seen Google pushing the boundaries of how we may interact with technology through projects such as Google Glass and of course, Android Wear devices, where in addition to the small touchscreen, users typically talk to their device. Google have already invested a considerable amount of time and money into this technology, which is backed by artificial intelligent systems. Google's cloud computing combined with artificial intelligent systems is the backbone of services such as Google Translate (celebrating its tenth birthday) and Google Photos image recognition and search functions.
Looking forwards, Google has also invested in virtual reality technology (as have many other technology businesses). One project is Magic Leap, a startup business that has raised more than a billion dollars to build an augmented reality system that superimposes moving images and other information over the surroundings that people see. Science fiction authors and directors have been envisioning this sort of technology for years and now there are companies that are working towards bringing this technology to the market.
As the world changes, so our use of technology is evolving. Perhaps this time next decade our cities will not be plagued by zombie-like figures shambling forwards, concentrating on a relatively small, rectangular piece of glass, plastic and metal, but instead, our technology will be small, subtle and almost entirely voice controlled.