I saw some Google Internet of Things news on a new site called The Information. As the technology media consolidates and fights for page views in a fragmented advertising market, Jessica Lessen developed a digital site that is subscription only. No fighting over getting ads and eyeballs.
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Internet of Things
Everybody wants to get into the Internet of Things parade. The Information picked up on a new project at Google. Working through its Android software, The Information notes, “Google wants its software to power any electronic device that connects to the Internet, whether or not it has a digital screen.”
To that end, Google is working on technology that could run on low-powered devices, possibly with as few as 64 or 32 megabytes of random-access memory, according to people who have been briefed about the project.
The analysis is that the technology could make it easier for other companies to build everything from “smart” fridges and light bulbs to garden monitors. Note that this relates to the consumer IoT.
Keep in mind that ever since the PC-based control revolution of the late 90s, industrial automation and control have increasingly leveraged commercial technologies for industrial uses. If Google develops a low-power, low-footprint product, this will no doubt spur further development of industrial “things”.
And, this should have the twin benefits to customers of driving down costs and providing a more open ecosystem.
More from The Information
The project has been referred by the codename “Brillo” and appears to be separate from the upcoming release of the “M” version of Android. Like the open-source version of Android, Brillo could be more like a technology blueprint than a fully loaded operating system tied to apps and services, at first.
Google is expected to discuss the Brillo software, which is initially aimed at devices for the home, during the company’s annual conference for developers next week. Google last year offered a version of Android for smartwatches, called Android Wear, to certain partners.
Google considers Brillo to be a “platform” that will help streamline a fragmented market in which developers are creating or using lots of different operating systems to power Web-connected gadgets and sensors, says one of the people briefed about it. Because the software is so different from Android, Google hasn’t yet decided whether to fold it into the Android brand, this person says.
Having its software power a bevy of home gadgets would give Google valuable insight into people’s behaviors and habits.
Devices running the new Brillo software would be able communicate with devices made by Google’s Nest unit, which include a thermostat and smoke detector. Those have operating systems built using Linux software, and the thermostat is loaded with technology called Thread that could enable it to serve as a hub for communicating with a range of other devices.
Undoubtedly, Google also wants to head off efforts by Microsoft and Samsung Electronics to create similar software and hardware standards for connected devices.
Microsoft has announced a slimmed down version of Windows 10 that runs on a Raspberry Pi, a cheap microcomputer popular among device developers.
Samsung has Artik, a set of standardized circuit boards smart home developers can tap. It also bought SmartThings, which makes a $99 wireless hub and a free app to control compatible devices around the home. But developers have been reluctant to commit to the system because it depends on Samsung’s as-yet unproved ability build up a huge installed base of hubs.