In Schmidt’s vision, Google will search before you even ask

In the not-so-distant future, you’ll be walking down the street and your phone will beep and offer you a few lunch suggestions just around the corner, or it might tell you that the museum across the street is having an exhibit of that artist you once Googled: That’s Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s vision of the future, Computerworld reports. In a keynote address at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Schmidt said that at some point in the future, Google’s search technology will be autonomous, meaning it will offer users search results even before they’ve looked for them. “While it sounds like science fiction to suggest that technology can help search for things you don’t even yet know you need, the opportunities to improve human discovery are very real in the future,” said Augie Ray, an analyst at Forrester Research. “Combining a person’s context — where they are, who they’re with — with their past opinions and actions, and the opinions and actions of others, can create tremendous value for people.” Autonomous search would take your past experiences, likes and dislikes and use them, along with geolocation information, to give you information about things that might interest you wherever you might be. Analysts say this kind of technology could be a reality within five years. However, it could be a big drain on the battery life of mobile devices.

But the bigger issue could be privacy. For this type of search technology to work, your phone and Google would need to know where you are all the time. And many people might have a big problem with that…

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On new iPhone, a mystery of dropped calls

Apple’s touch-screen smart phone has been a sensation since Day 1 three years ago, and many who own the device believe it to be almost perfect—if only it worked better as a phone. That might be the case with the new iPhone 4 as well, reports the New York Times. What surprised many of the new phone’s earliest adopters as they tested the phone after its June 24 launch: The precious little bars that signal network connections inexplicably disappeared when they cradled the phone in their hands a particular way. Sometimes, but not always, the cradling resulted in dropped calls. In the hours before Apple weighed in on the problem, iPhone fans turned to one another on the internet in a zealous exercise in crowd-sourcing for answers to the mystery. They were all the more baffled because the iPhone 4 was designed to have better reception. A metal band that wraps around the edges of the device is supposed to pull in a stronger signal; software is supposed to choose the section of the signal with the least congestion. Late on June 24, an Apple spokesman, Steve Dowling, acknowledged that the issues experienced by users were real but played down their importance. “Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, depending on the placement of the antennas,” he said. “This is a fact of life for every wireless phone.”

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