Technology is rapidly evolving in a way that may force us to let go of our computer screens. And that may mean more publications will ultimately be read in…print.
While the publishing industry has been frantically adapting to the impact of digital readership, advances in technology may actually make these screened devices obsolete. And a computer without a screen is not a great device for reading of any sort.
“Google is preparing for screenless computers,” asserts Quartz’ Christopher Mims this week. And that will change not only the way we consume content, but every interaction we make with our desktop and mobile devices.
The next sea change is likely to involve improved voice interaction, which will allow us to query our devices for information that can be delivered sans screen.
“Google is already moving rapidly to enable voice commands on all of its products,” continues Mims. He cites Google Now for Android and Google’s iPhone search app as examples of applications that allow users to search, send emails and text by voice alone – no keyboard, no screen, and a cloud processor that parses the answers.
Google Glass, the next wave of technology that promises to change our relationship with our devices, would be pointless without voice, and Motorola’s latest X phone has a built-in chip that instantly recognizes the ubiquitous Google prompt of “OK.”
“In a way, it’s part of the natural progression of convenience in computer interfaces: 10 years ago writing an email required walking over to a computer, five years ago we could whip out our phones, and in the near future we’ll simply start talking,” Mims explains.
Digital publishers would be wise to take notice. If our main connectivity device is primarily voice-enabled, this leaves the digital publishing world pushing a platform (screened devices) that may soon lose their must-have status.
In a world without screens, where does that leave the printed piece? Imagine a world where you take off your Google Glass and pick up a magazine. I like the way that looks.