Google Built Star Trek-Style Voice Search Device

It is no secret that tech giant Google has a certain affinity with the science fiction television series, and now it has been revealed that the company produced a prototype communicator pin.

Members of the Starfleet communicated using the badge-and-communicator pin, using it to talk with other personnel as well as computers. Google imagined that the pin would only be used to make voice searches on the company search engine, and even produced a prototype that did so, reports Time.

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Google produced “combadge” prototype inspired by Star Trek

The existence of the prototype was first revealed in a report by TIME, in which Google senior vice president Amit Singhal was quoted talking about the device. “I always wanted that pin,” he said. “You just ask it anything and it works. That’s why we were like, ‘Let’s go prototype that and see how it feels.’”

According to Singhal the pin was activated by tapping the front, before the voice search was sent to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth. Answers to their query were then spoken aloud from a built-in speaker.

However cool the system may seem, especially to Star Trek fans eager to emulate their heroes, the device doesn’t in fact have many real-world applications. It is by definition not a very discrete system, and the other problem is that many people use Google to search for information that is best displayed on a screen.

Device never mass produced due to worries over functionality

You may not want to have a phone number read aloud, or even have your Google search broadcast to anyone that happens to be within earshot. Lastly there are a number of existing solutions for people who require hands-free functionality from their smartphone, including Bluetooth headsets.

At the end of the day the Star Trek-style search device makes for a better story than a functional device, and it’s understandable why it never made it to production. However it does go to show the lengths that Google is going to in order to find new, natural ways for us to search for information.

The company is constantly striving to stay ahead of the latest trends in technology and the prototype is one of many that have been produced over the years.