Google Research

Balancing Privacy and Serendipity in CyberSpace

International Workshop on Mobile Computing Systems and Applications (ACM HotMobile), (2022) (to appear)


Unplanned encounters or casual collisions between colleagues have long been recognized as catalysts for creativity and innovation. The absence of such encounters has been a negative side effect of COVID-enforced remote work. However, there have also been positive side effects such as less time lost to commutes, lower carbon footprints, and improved work-life balance. This vision paper explores how serendipity for remote workers can be created by leveraging IoT technologies, edge computing, high-resolution video, network protocols for live interaction, and video/audio denaturing. We reflect on the privacy issues that technology-mediated serendipity raises and sketch a path towards honoring diverse privacy preferences.

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