Google Tango–A Preliminary Assessment

Google seems to be trying to get its tentacles into everything these days. As a privacy fanatic, I find a lot not to like about the new TANGO tablet. I find the idea of millions of people with TANGO tablets capturing Terabytes of data and shipping it off to the Google Cloud deeply disturbing.

Regardless, as a design package, a preliminary assessment is that the TANGO is already looking like a best of breed product.

Technology to do what the TANGO tablet does and more, with greater speed and precision, has been around for many years. Perhaps in tacit acknowledgement, Google’s marketing has been tastefully understated. In fact, the published information–aimed at developers–tends to be more informative about the limitations than the capabilities of the current devices.

The assessment is “preliminary” because readily available published specifications are still short on some critical technical details. Some information that I tried to find without success was the spatial resolution of the 3D sensor as a function of measurement time. It is these kinds of details that will determine what can and can’t be done with the initial version of TANGO. But, at this point, the information that is readily available should leave its target audience with objective and realistic expectations of what the TANGO Tablet can do.

And that is likely to be quite a lot.

None of the individual components is bleeding edge of their art. But, how they are integrated reflects some of what is being done at the cutting edge of machine intelligence and unmanned systems. And, the way Google has integrated them offers a price/performance capability that may be, at this point, unique.

These are early days. Developers have yet to wring out the TANGO Tablet’s technical capabilities. What kind of applications those capabilities will support, the market demand for them, and whether they do anything of value for advancing the common good of humankind is yet to be seen. The prospect of dozens of visitors TANGOing through the Louvre raises some interesting potential problems–not to mention what kind of issues the lawyers can think up to litigate. But with TANGO, Google is providing powerful tools for exploring the questions.

About Jim Ramsbotham

Technology and national security specialist with over thirty-five years experience in both research and development, and policy. Current Position: President of Orion Enterprises, Inc. Interests: Art and Music.
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