Google Wants to Join the Party, Not Crash It

Lisa Cericola, 31, a food editor and blogger, recently held a party at her home in Brooklyn, with grilled steak and chimichurri on the table and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the iPod.Soon, a debate broke out. Was the singer saying, “With burned shed it’s a lovely view?” Or “With blood I shed alone with you?”Like most people these days, Ms. Cericola knew what to do. She grabbed her BlackBerry and Googled. (The answer, from the song “Scar Tissue”: “With the birds I’ll share this lonely view.”)”Looking up something really fast actually adds to the conversation,” Ms. Cericola said.But if Ms. Cericola was content with how quickly she ended the debate, Google and other technology companies are not. They know they are the uninvited guests at social gatherings everywhere, and they want to ingratiate themselves with the hosts by figuring out new, less intrusive ways to join the party — as varied as voice search, Internet-connected glasses and other wearable computers, or dining room tables outfitted with screens.Googling the answer to a question has become accepted social behavior, but “it’s still somewhat awkward when you see that at a dinner party,” said Amit Singhal, senior vice president in charge of search at Google. “The key to the future is how can you make such conversations socially even more normal?”

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