Google Wants To Get Inside Your Soccer Cleats

Screenshot: Adidas Japan

If there’s one thing soccer nerds love, it’s playing FIFA. Well, for the more actively inclined, Google is apparently partnering with Adidas and EA Sports by offering up “Adidas GMR Insoles.” Powered by Google’s second-generation Jacquard tag, the insoles will track how well you play on the pitch and translate that into stat boosts for your team in the FIFA mobile game for Android and iOS.

The news was teased a few days ago on Adidas’ Japanese twitter. In the accompanying video, it shows a tiny ‘lil Adidas-branded Jacquard tag being slotted into a pink insole, which then activates a pink light. The teaser video also sports a quick cameo from Argentina and Juventus player Paulo Dybala, while the tweet hints at a March 11 launch date.

Footy Headlines, a soccer blog that covers kits and boots, managed to get its hands on a pair of the insoles. In its writeup, it says the insoles will be capable of tracking touch, control, speed, and kicks.

To use the insoles, users will also need a separate Adidas GMR app and the box also comes with a digital card for Paulo Dybala. FIFA mobile players will also get some sort of boost to their virtual teams, but it’s not exactly clear how that mechanism works just yet beyond the cryptic statement “the more you play in real life, the better your FIFA Mobile Ultimate Team becomes.”

It appears that the tag can be put into either insole and the insoles will come with a ‘symmetry tag’ for whichever side you don’t choose. And yes, there’s still a charging cable as the Jacquard, while it does get pretty decent mileage off a single charge, still needs to juice up every few weeks.

A closer look at the Jacquard tag. (Screenshot: Adidas Japan)

The Google Jacquard tag has been around for a while but mostly in the form of Levi’s denim jackets and backpacks. The tag thus far has been used mostly as a touch sensor. For instance, in jacket form, the tag lives in the cuff which you tap and swipe to perform actions such as controlling music, taking selfies, and launching Google Assistant.

Shoe-based trackers have also been around for a long while, though they often are more or less geared toward runners. Still, given the Jacquard tag’s capabilities, sticking them in an insole makes sense. After all, the whole mission behind the tag is to add technology into everyday objects.

While the cat’s mostly out of the bag with regard to the Adidas GMR Insoles, the official launch—and ostensibly, full details on the product including price—is slated for tomorrow.

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