SXSW: Google's Talking Shoe Motivates You to Move

Credit: Joanna Stern

AUSTIN, Texas - Forget Google Glass, Google's got sneakers now. Well, at least it does at SXSW.

No, the search giant isn't planning to get into the sneaker or footwear business, but to showcase its new advertising innovation program called "Art, Copy and Code" the company has hacked together a crazy pair of sneakers that would even draw Marty McFly's attention.

"The Talking Shoe is an experiment in how you can use connected objects to tell stories on the Web today," Aman Govil, lead of the advertising arts team, told ABC News.

Govil's team at Google took a few pairs of Adidas sneakers and crammed in a small computer, an accelerometer, a pressure sensor, a gyroscope, speaker and Bluetooth. The shoe can tell what you are or aren't doing and can then relay that information to your phone via Bluetooth or to you via the speaker in the top tongue of the shoe. Think those 90's Pump sneakers, but with a speaker in place of the squishy ball.

The idea is that the shoe would function a lot like many of the fitness gadgets out there today that attempt you to motivate you more. When you have been sitting for more than an hour it might yell at you to walk around. But in this instance, Google's really thinking along the lines of what brands could do with this sort of technology.

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"If you put what the shoe knows through an algorithmic logic engine, it can translate it into copy," Govil explained. "Now if you give that copy to an interesting copy writer, you could give the shoe personality. One shoe could be the trash-talking shoe."

Beyond that there are social media marketing ideas.

Govil told us to imagine if a famous athlete, say Serena Williams, was wearing these and automatically updates from the shoes were flowing into her social media accounts with information about how fast she was moving.

But all of these are just ideas for the moment, ideas Google's thinking about for others as it thinks about growing its core business. "We're not getting into the shoe business," Govil said. "We are in the social network and advertising business."