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Why do we need washing machines that talk to us? Via Acumor

Does Your Washer Talk To You?
Does Your Washer Talk To You?

It’s turning into a bizarre world once your rice cooker is smarter than your laptop. Then when your washing machine and dryer start telling you when you need an extra spin cycle or extra 10 minutes drying time? That’s beyond weird.

Yet this world is becoming a reality as a result of Android operating system.

A recent story by BusinessWeek highlighted the many strange places in which Google’s operating system Android is appearing. And the strangest news of all? Having Android in your rice cooker might just make sense.

Android’s rise

Google’s Android operating system is already a remarkable success story. Just look at how the system dominates the smartphone world. As reported by the BusinessWeek story, citing numbers from research company Gartner, Android in the third quarter of 2012 had grabbed 72 percent of the smartphone market share. That dominates its nearest rival, Apple, which could only lay claim to 14 percent of the market share during the same quarter.

Why appliances?

But why would Google, which developed Android, want its operating system in microwave ovens, refrigerators or rice cookers? It’s very simple: Having Android power these appliances could help Google collect all the more data for its main business, search. Google’s search business, no matter its dominance in the smartphone business, is still its biggest moneymaker. Google can learn all the more about customer tastes, and gain the capability to more directly tailor its search engine to best serve these needs, by collecting more info from consumers.

What would it do?

That leaves an additional question: What would Android in a clothes dryer or rice cooker actually do? Fortunately, BusinessWeek answers this question. What if you’re watching TV and a pop-up message appears letting you know the jeans tumbling in your dryer aren’t totally dry. You can then press a button telling your dryer to dry those pants for an additional 10 minutes. Or suppose you could tell your rice cooker what type of rice you are cooking – brown, white or jasmine, say – and your device would then automatically cook that rice for the right amount of time. That’s useful, right? And if it’s all unnecessary? So what?

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