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Google's Phone Prototype: It Takes 3D to Tango

Dan Jones

Google's latest project is a smartphone that maps its surroundings in 3D, a development that could have very interesting implications for location services and the tracking of big data.

The search giant says it pulled together 10 years of research to create the "Project Tango" smartphone: a phone that can track its motion in full 3D in real-time.

"Our goal is to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion," says Johnny Lee, project lead at the Google Advanced Technology & Project team. The team introduced the Tango concept in the video below:

Lee says that Google will soon get development kits out to software developers to create applications on top of the Tango platform.

This could clearly make location data collection of the user of the Tango smartphone more granular and accurate than even the satellite and cellular network triangulation systems of today.

Which could, as Lee says, make the future "awesome" but maybe a bit creepy, too. (See Here Come the WiFi Drones, Another Day, Another Domestic Spying Revelation, and Telcos Warm to Big Data.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 5:12:49 AM
Re : Google's Phone Prototype: It Takes 3D to Tango
@danielcawry: Not just Android. Although the droid is more capable of handling multitasking events and also gather information in a streamlined manner (different from the other OS), I think soon enough this technology can be delivered in WP and iPhones.
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 5:11:16 AM
Re : Google's Phone Prototype: It Takes 3D to Tango
And creepy it is. However this new form of technology would benefit so much from fast networks and would soon be used in integrated GPS tracking too. If the project receives many tick marks from the development board, then we may be looking forward to a much more streamlined approach at mobile data computing. What must be known is the amount of data it collects, and if it can be harmful for the end user.
User Rank: Light Beer
2/24/2014 | 8:17:56 PM
Re: I Like It
The opt in is an interesting part. Especially when it comes to Google. I wonder what you're giving up to get the goods?
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/24/2014 | 3:43:26 PM
Re: I Like It
Well, this is only a prototype for now. But one can only hope...

All of these whiz-bang products from Google seem like diversions. But Google needs diverisitification in order to make money from things other than advertising. So, the company is not doing this without some intention of monetizing it. 
User Rank: Blogger
2/24/2014 | 3:41:22 AM
Re: I Like It
Yes, game developers must be salivating about this 3D tech.
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/23/2014 | 2:11:40 PM
Re: I Like It
Nothwithstanding Google hype, Project Tango technology will be truly useful once implemented into phones and other portable devices. Not only the visually impaired but lots of other uses will surely be found for the technology. Gamers will have a field day, and there's no telling how designers, outdoors people and more will find great added capabilities in small devices.
User Rank: Blogger
2/23/2014 | 10:22:44 AM
Re: I Like It
I like it, too. 3D + augmented reality + precise location at least creates an experience that's nice to look at and could add value. I'm sure it'll be completely transparent, opt in and all that too...right?
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/22/2014 | 9:28:33 PM
I Like It
This is a very cool idea. I can see where this project will be able to provide smartphones with contextual information that can help users.

Right now phones simply do not see the world as we do; in order for them to take a leap forward I believe that this technology needs to be integrated into Android at some point. 
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