Google wants its AI to disappear in your clothes

Key Points
  • The company's advanced technologies division launched an update to a Levi's partnership that shows its latest vision of gesture control.
  • The company said it wants computing sensors to go in "everyday" apparel without turning them into gadgets.
Google Jacquard Levi's

Google has updated its concept of tech-infused apparel and it appears to target everyday people not interested in obvious wearables.

Google's Advanced Technology And Projects division, known as Google ATAP, updated its Jacquard app and small computing sensor placed in new Levi's jackets, the company announced Thursday. ATAP is an experimental incubator that explores computing forms and was created by former DARPA director Regina Dugan.

The latest update is the clearest depiction of how Google is thinking of "ambient computing," which the company describes as using computing without feeling tied to a physical phone. It comes two years after first announcing the Levi's partnership and less than two weeks ahead of the launch of its Pixel 4, which is expected to have touchless controls developed in ATAP. It also comes two months after it launched a $995 backpack in partnership with high-end designer Saint Laurent.

"With the evolution of cloud and AI we've reached a significant new milestone," wrote Ivan Poupyrev, Director of Engineering for Google ATAP in a blog post Thursday. "Computing can now go beyond specialized devices and start providing digital experiences through everyday things around you—an idea we call 'ambient computing.'"

The original Levi's Trucker with Jacquard by Google retailed for more than $300, while the new collection includes a men's and women's classic Trucker jackets for $198. In the blog post, the company promises more to come, hinting at a target of even lower price points. It's seeking more apparel partnerships, according to Jacquard's website.

A promotional video shows people using gestures to control music, navigation, picture-taking, and access to a smart assistant and mobile alerts.

"With Jacquard, we want to help you access your digital life through the garments and products you use every day," Poupyrev continued in the blog post. "We see technology as an ingredient for making ordinary things better and more helpful—not turning them into gadgets."

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