The developer version of Google Glass has been around for a couple of months now to mixed reviews. The general consensus of most people that try it being that they would use it but not as it is right now. Google Glass is Google’s first foray into the wearable technology arena, they are non-prescription glasses that contain a small display that you can see when you look upwards. The screen can display information and perform a variety of other tasks. The glasses also contain a camera that can take still pictures or shoot video. It is this feature that has caused most concern with privacy issues being the major problem for most people. Here are five reasons that I think that Google Glass will succeed in the long term.
1. Google Glass Etiquette Will Evolve
The biggest problem for a lot of people is the thought that their actions might be being recorded without their knowledge or consent. One of the most quoted concerns regarding Glass is the situation when a person walks into a men’s public toilet wearing Glass. The reality is that etiquette will evolve over when and where it is acceptable to wear and use Glass. In the same way that most people will turn their mobile phones off when in a cinema or at the theatre people will take Glass off before entering a public toilet. Laws may well be introduced or amended to cover offences where an invasion of privacy has occurred.
2. Industry Will Find Multiple Uses For It
This is something that Google is already very aware of. I saw a video earlier this morning showing zoo keepers at Taronga Zoo in Australia using Glass. In the video the staff say that using Glass will enable them to get a greater understanding of the animals that they work with and allows them to film the animals but still keep both hands free. The video is entertaining but I am sure there are people in all sorts of industries who will see it and think, “That could be really useful in my industry”. Here are some examples off the top of my head:
- Car dealer who is thinking of buying a vehicle that is currently a couple of hundred miles away could ask the current owner to look over the vehicle while wearing Glass so that the prospective buyer can see whether the vehicle really is in mint condition
- Surgeon would be able to wear Glass while performing an operation so that students could see what the surgeon sees. Any sort of “How To” guide would be improved by the ability to give a demonstration while keeping both hands free, providing a more natural experience for the viewer.
3. Sports Broadcasting Will Adopt Glass
Having referees wearing Goggle Glass will make for more interesting analysis. In a s football match (soccer if you are reading this in the US) if there is a contentious decision such as a goal that was awarded when a player was in an offside position viewers will be able to see the officials viewpoint and decide whether it was poor decision that could not be avoided because the officials view was blocked or if it was a poor decision that could have been avoided. I think initially it is likely to be a sport’s governing body that adopts Glass to help with their performance monitoring of officials. Once this has been put in place it will only be a matter of time before commentators and pundits are saying things like “It would be really interesting to be able to see that again from the ref’s perspective”. If eventually the replays are shown via Glass it will start to make Glass a more desirable product with fans of the sport, making Glass more acceptable in the public eye.
4. Developers Will Develop Compelling Apps
Imagine you visit a museum and there is an app that you can download for the museum. As you walk round the GPS in your Glass triggers the app to present you with information about the objects that are nearby. At a sports game you would get alerts from other matches that are taking place without the need to get your phone out of your pocket.
Facial recognition is one of the major concerns that both Facebook and Google have, both realise the potential for such a service but both know that public opinion is not currently ready for the introduction of facial recognition technology. However, an app that would enable you to see where your friends on Google+ are when you are in a packed bar might be useful. This would not necessarily need to use facial recognition, it could just use GPS and point you in the right direction with maybe a strip along the top of your display that changes colour the closer you get to the person you are looking for.
Traditional news outlets will develop apps that will allow you to easily upload your content from Glass so that they can try to gain access to citizen journalists.
The real killer app for Glass has probably not yet been imagined, but somebody will create it… eventually.
5. Glass Will Make Life More Social
Many of the best inventions that we have created started out with a different purpose to the way they are used now. The telephone was designed to replace the telegram. The thought was that a telegram office would have a telephone. People would go to the telegram office with a message. The office would call the relevant office for where the message was to be delivered. The message would be spoken via the telephone and written down in the second office and then delivered by hand as a telegram would. As Glass becomes more commonplace people will find a reason to use it in the same way that they found a reason to own a mobile phone in the 90’s.
It will start with things such as recording video of your new born baby that can be sent to relatives. Or maybe streaming the video of your car engine so your mechanic friend can advise you what you need to do to get your car working again. Mass adoption will drive down the price and make Glass more accessible. Our desire to use social media sites shows that we have a desire to connect and to share. When you go to any sort of pop concert you will see people holding up smartphones and iPads to capture the moment. With Glass you will be able to capture the moment and still have your hands free. Glass will allow users to
When the iPad was released many in the tech community thought it would fail because it was more of a content consumption device rather than being a content creation device. They would say that it was OK for updating Twitter or Facebook but that it was not much use for carrying out real work. What these people failed to realise is that most people do not need a machine that is capable of “real work”. Glass may not replace the camera in TV and film production but it may be seen as an easier way to capture video and photos than a traditional camera or smartphone.
Long term I think that Glass will be a success for the five reasons that I have cited above. It will not be an immediate success and there will be a lot of evolution along the way but in the same way that we have seen the rise of laptops , smartphones and tablets I think that Glass will end up being a clear winner.