Inside Project Jacquard: How Google is threading together its plan for smarter clothes

TR: What is Google's goal with Project Jacquard?

IP: We want to create an infrastructure for fashion designers and software developers. We provide a palette of things people can use, and each brand or fashion designer can choose which technological solution they're going to use. We're building prototypes, but we don't want to be in the garment business. This is not our place to be.

Project Jacquard

TR: Why go straight to fashion industry itself?

IP: There's a depth of knowledge in these apparel companies that none of us have, because they're spending years and years - in the case of Levi's, hundreds of years - learning. That's why we go to the brands. We don't tell brands, "You should use it for this." It's, "What do your users want to use the technology for?" In most cases, we have an answer right away. When we showed it to Levi's, by the second meeting, they said this is the line we want to use it for. They could tell right away what they would use it for.

TR: Do you think we'll have different Jacquad-enabled garments for different purposes?

IP: You don't need to create a universal jacket that does everything. Every jacket will do something special. But one thing that was really important for this thing is, we are thinking platform, and we want people to write their own applications for this garment. It's a normal jacket, [a] tailored-made jacket. It's not a "wearable." It's not some special thing. So once we open it up, people can write their own applications about what they want. [Users] can install applications, so, it's not one-off, that it does one thing. It becomes more interesting, because you can modify the functionality of your garment as you go through your day, or your life.

TR: How do you plan to foster the developer community and encourage development for this new wearable platform?

IP: Once we get the first garments done, we're probably going to start an early development program, where we are going to be distributing this to the developer community with the API, so people can design their own applications. I think the applications people are going to come up with are going to be amazing.