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Google’s Talking Shoes are the Next Generation of Storytellers

Google Talking Shoe

Starting with my phone’s xylophonic “Time Passing” alarm to my computer’s incessant bells, chimes, swooshs and general excitement every time I get an email, I have things that beep, click, chirp, and talk to me all day long.

Now, there’s another thing to add to that list: talking shoes.

No matter how you feel about talking inanimate objects, Google’s latest foray into “connected objects” is pretty freaking cool. We’ve seen Google Glasses and the Google Glove, which lets you text by air writing. At SXSW, they debuted their newest foray into wearable objects: a talking adidas high top sneaker.

While this could be a great way to encourage people to get healthy, this shoe isn’t really about kicking your butt or guilting you into exercising (apparently some shoes really do prefer sitting around). No, it’s about Art, Copy & Code. It’s about storytelling; or, in other words, it’s about advertising. And according to Art, Copy & Code.com, “Today, anyone and anything can be a storyteller.”

The shoes were made by artist/computer programmer Zach Lieberman and YesYesNo (the company formed by Zach Lieberman) a NY-based interactive collective.

“Using an accelerometer, a gyroscope, Bluetooth and some other off the shelf technologies, the Talking Shoe translates the wearer’s movements into funny, motivating and timely commentary. The things it says can be posted to Google+ by the user, sent to real-time ad units, if the user chooses to, and broadcast via onboard speakers. It can talk to the world and to the web. That commentary then gets pushed to banners and social media, creating new, interesting content in the digital world from something happening live in the physical one,” states Art, Copy & Code.com.

Online advertisers can now kick back and relax while the funny and motivating adidas high tops tweet and create banner ads (because that’s exactly what we all need… more funny and motivating banner ads written by someone or something who spends most days getting walked on).

Unfortunately, these shoes aren’t actually coming to market. Personally, I’d love to see talking running shoes that were purely focused on encouraging people to get healthy, maybe even offering some training tips, snarky voice included. However, since Google is adamant about not getting into the footwear business, it looks like the only way to get these particular shoes are to hack your own high tops.


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