Google’s Tango: Out To Map Everything That’s Out There, Even Indoors
Just to be clear about it, Google Maps is an awesome thing. We sometimes do indeed take it for granted, but having this tool literally at the palm of our hands has allowed us to be more aware of the world around us -- streets, structures, and even that cool diner just around the corner. But like any new technology, users are bound to feel its flaws as time goes by. Simply put, Google Maps is quite handy out on the street, but when you are inside a shopping mall (with multiple storeys), the tool is rather limiting.
This is why Google started an initiative called Project Tango. Google Maps was a good starting point in mapping the world, but the aim of Project Tango was go further into the details. Thus, where Google Maps shows roads, rivers, and buildings, Project Tango will focus on mapping indoor environments such as hallways, stairs, rooms, furniture, and even the stuff you put on top of tables and counters.
Recently, Project Tango (whose name has now been shortened by Google to just Tango) went a step further when Lenovo introduced the Phab2 Pro, the first ever smartphone to be integrated with the mapping technology. Sure, the phablet is priced at $500, and may be a bit too big for most mobile users (it has got a 6.4 inch display screen), but for the first time, Tango is now being used in a major smartphone release. Could the tech appear in future smartphone offerings soon?
If that happens, Google is a step closer to creating the most accurate map or picture possible of the real, physical world, both in exterior and interior environments. Google has already done wonders with allowing people to search anything in the vast ocean of the Internet (there is still so much work to be done, we know, but we already know so much because of Google), now its next step is to replicate it in the physical world. Before, we Google information from the Internet, soon we may Google which table to sit at that restaurant inside that building a couple of blocks away.
But wait -- if a building’s interior can be mapped, wouldn’t that be invading the privacy of the owner of the building? The issue of privacy is always complicated, but as explained by Johnny Lee (he heads Tango), users can make use of Tango as they would with YouTube. The users get to decide whether they want a video they shot to be seen by everyone else online. It is basically the same thing with Tango, venue owners decide if they want a map of their shop’s interiors made available to to potential buyers out there.