Google, MIT Get PCs and Smartphones in Sync

An MIT computer science grad student and a Google researcher have joined forces to build software that makes it a lot easier to move open tasks and apps between PCs and smartphones.

Deep Shot, which was demoed last month at the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, exploits the use by web applications of the universal resource identifier (URI) to describe the state they are in. Deep Shot software installed on any device involved works with the smartphone camera to pull data – such as directions on Google Maps – into a smartphone by taking a picture of the open computer screen, or to push data from the phone to a PC, say when you want to use the PC's bigger keyboard to type something into an app. An example of where it might be used is if you got directions from Google Maps on your PC, then wanted to transfer the info to your phone when you left your house or office to go to the destination.

[MORE FROM CHI: Experimental broadband management app could keep ISPs honest]

"People are used to using heavy tools to transfer data or synchronize two devices," said MIT's Tsung-Hsiang Chang says in a statement. “You have to plug in a USB cable and maybe open iTunes and synchronize a bunch of data at the same time. But sometimes you just want to send a tiny bit of information, or a single piece of information."

This video shows how it works.

The software was developed by Chang and Google Research's Yang Li, though the technology belongs to Google since Chang was working there as an intern at the time it was created.

Deep Shot initially works with a few apps, such as Google Maps and Yelp, though could be extended relatively easily to other apps that use URIs, according to the researchers. Deep Shot could also be used to swap data between different apps, say Google Maps and Mapquest, if they both adhere to URI standards.

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