Have you seen those adverts on TV recently, telling us to save electricity? If you haven't, here's one of them:
Is it me, or is the guy in the ad a bit of a twat? Why would you want to be like him? This is one of those "gets-me-angry-every-time-I-see-it" ads that makes me want to WASTE electricity, as a matter of principle...
You know they say bad things come in threes? I'm beginning to think it may be true.
Yesterday, Nadine and I went up to Coventry so she could see my old haunts. We were due to stay in the "Hotel Formule 1" - billed as france's equivalent of a Travelodge. It wasn't. The room was small, and stank something rotten - like someone with poor bowel control had lay there for a week before finally dying and was slowly decomposing there.
We eventually stumped up another 36 quid to move to the nearby Ibis hotel.
Today, we caught the train home. We're on it as I write this. Problem is, a fuel tanker's crashed and is leaking all over the line ahead, so we're getting diverted through South Wales and will be an hour late.
Now I'm just waiting for the third bad thing to complete the trilogy...
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange
I was having a think at lunch earlier today - there's a lot of things that Google could do, if it wanted to, to make my life a lot easier.
Here's just a few of them.
- Booking movie tickets
I can already visit Google Movies to check the latest showtimes at the cinema. When it's integrated with my local GP surgery, Google Health should know that I'm epileptic, and warn me of movies with strobe lighting that could affect me. It should then look at my Google Calendar and greenlight the showings that it knows I can actually make, and redlight the ones that I'll be busy for.
- Missed appointments
Let's say I go and visit my Auntie Doris every Thursday for tea and cake, at 6pm, after I finish work at 5pm. This is stored in my Google Calendar. My calendar knows the postcode I work at, and the postcode of Doris's house. Therefore, it should be able to work out how long it should take me to drive the distance. Linking into a BBC Traffic News Feed it could tell when and where roadworks are taking place. It could then text Doris (maybe using something like the Orange API System) to tell her I might be a little late, and apologise on my behalf.
- Bargain hunting
Google Checkout has a record of anything I buy using its' payment service. Google Products (formerly Froogle) can locate the cheapest price for most items, quite well. If you buy something online in the UK, you're legally allowed to return it for 7 days and get your money back. So, why couldn't Google tell I bought a certain product for £89.99 today, check and tell me that infact, I could've bought it for £69.99 elsewhere, giving me time to return the more expensive one and re-buy?
- Full life management
Seeing as Google knows pretty much everything about me, through the contents of my Gmail, events in my Google Calendar, things I've searched for in my Google Search History, and so on, it should be able to help me out further.
It's Nadine's birthday in two weeks. I'm taking her to Coventry for a couple of days, but had to book the hotel, train tickets, and everything else myself. Why couldn't Google have helpfully acted like a concierge by reading my emails and looking at my calendar and web history? All the clues are there:
*An event called "Nadine's birthday" takes place in two weeks time, so Google knows what's happening and when.
*My Facebook page lists quite publicly that I'm engaged to "Nadine Dunster" - thus confirming her importance in my life.
*Her Google Calendar is shared with me (and vice-versa), so Google should be able to tell when we're both free.
*I have emails from her stating how she loves indian food, and how she'd like a copy of "Superbad" and some Prada perfume as a gift.
Wouldn't it be so cool if Google could suggest cheap vendors for the gifts, and sort me out with a couple of restaurant ideas?
It kinda reminds me of Wildfire, a now-defunct service that Orange offered inplace of normal voicemail. It would listen in to all your calls and automatically do things for you. For example, if you were talking to someone on the phone, and they said "shall I meet you for lunch, say 4pm at the old statue?" and you say "Yes", you could follow up with "Wildfire, note that for me". She (Wildfire, the automated voice) would then reply in-conversation with "OK Bill, I've noted that in your diary". The event would then be saved in my diary, along with the location, time, who I'm meeting, and so on. If I cancelled the event, Wildfire would then ask me if I would like a text sent to the other person letting them know of the cancellation. You get the idea.
The whole point of this post is that the APIs are out there, the functionality is there, someone just needs to make it happen. Google, hire me, and make every day "20% time" :-)