The future of Spotlight and OS X  APR 20 2005

Bill Brown has uncovered some interesting Slashdot comments by an Apple employee about Spotlight and future Apple's future plans. (Ed note: it's unclear whether As Seen On TV (ASOT) is indeed an Apple employee, but even if he/she isn't, the thoughts are still interesting.) In this comment, ASOT talks about the future direction for Spotlight, Apple's new finder (not Finder, but it seems clear that as Spotlight matures, it will become the de-facto way people use OS X), specifically about speech-to-text capabilities:

Example: You're doing a multi-party teleconference. A recording is made of that teleconference (each angle), and separate audio tracks are recorded for each participant. In real time, your computer transcribes each voice track and stores it as ancillary content on the recording, content that Spotlight indexes for you. At any time, you can type "meeting in San Jose" into Spotlight, and it'll take you right to the angle and track on which your co-worker Laurent talked about next week's meeting in San Jose.

and "anything" relationships:

Take two files, any two files. Say it's a PDF representing an invoice and a Photoshop file representing a poster you designed. You drag the invoice over the Photoshop file and a marking menu appears, giving you the option of establishing a relationship between the two files. If you want you can annotate the relationship. If you don't, you don't have to. The computer will simply note that a relationship exists.

Now extend that idea. Instead of it being two files, it can be two ANYTHING. Drag a contact from Address Book to a Pages document; up pops a marking menu asking you if you want to establish a relationship. Or an song from iTunes to a picture of your girlfriend. Or your daughter's birth certificate to her birthday in iCal.

Sounds like there's more than a little Quicksilver and Spring in there. And then here, ASOT talks about adding GPS data into the mix:

What's next? We're going to find new ways of attaching automatic metadata. Here's one we've been talking about a lot: Your laptop has a GPS receiver in it. Tiny thing, about the size of a pencil eraser. At all times, your laptop knows where it is on the face of the Earth, accurate to about thirty feet.

Every file you create is tagged with three new, additional pieces of metadata: latitude, longitude and altitude. That's on top of the date and time data we already attach to every file.

Say you go on a business trip to Seattle. A year later, you can search your laptop for that e-mail you sent to your coworker Tom while you were in Seattle.

S/he also notes that "It's going to be a while before we start shipping GPS-enabled Powerbooks...but it's on the drawing board." And you thought that gestural control of applications with the Powerbook's accelerometer was fun.

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