Google’s Talking Shoe Nags You Into Working Out

google shoe

Many of us, while working out, choose to have partners to give us that little extra push that we need to keep going. These partners, however, are usually human and, for one reason or another, can sometimes drop the ball. Not so with Google’s new workout buddy. This new footwear from Google, the search engine giant, can help to keep the wearer moving by providing motivation in the form of audio cues and statements. Similar to what a traditional workout partner would say, the idea is to keep the wearer active by talking to him, sometimes with the personality of an impatient, sarcastic personal trainer.

google shoe

What the Google Shoe Says

The Google show has a range of different phrases, currently 250, that it can use to congratulate, or shame, the wearer, depending on whether the wearer is being active or still. For instance, when the shoe detects that the wearer is not moving, it can offer phrases such as “This is boring”, “Are you a statue?” and “Let’s do this already!”. After a period activity, however, the Google shoe will say things like “That’s more like it” and “You’ve made me a very proud shoe”. The voice, while supposedly nothing more than recorded audio clips, sound more like a computer synthesized voice, complete with awkward sentences and intonation, especially where sentence punctuation is concerned.

How it Works

The talking shoe works by incorporating a pressure sensor in the shoe’s sole, which measures levels of activity by recording the strikes of the sole against the ground. An accelerometer measures changes in movement and speed, and a built in gyroscope monitors changes in balance and direction. The speaker is built into the top of the shoe’s tongue while a microprocessor, which collects the information from the various sensors, calculates the activity levels of the wearer and feeds audio into the speaker, is embedded in the lower tongue.

Google talking shoe


Aside from being a simple workout aid, the Google shoe can connect to the Internet via a Bluetooth connection to an Android smartphone, enabling the shoe to utilize Google’s map software to plot and track runs, as well as potentially keeping an online journal that contains the information that the shoe’s sensors collect.

When we’ll See Them

Unfortunately, it is not likely that we will see the talking shoe in retail outlets any time soon. Google revealed the shoe at the SXSW technology festival in Austin, Texas in early 2013, but said that there are currently no plans to develop them for sale. Instead, says a Google advertising executive, the purpose of the shoe was to simply show the possibilities of integrating cutting edge technology with everyday objects. It was an exercise, he said, to show that any kind of object can be connected to the web and used to collect and analyze data. Google has been known to change their mind, however, so a future release cannot be ruled out. In the meantime, we’ll just have to continue to rely on a workout partner and our own willpower.