Photo: AP Images
Google Glass, the search giant’s internet-connected glasses prototype, is one of the most exciting products to come around in a while.That’s because the implications are huge.
Glass will bring everyday activities closer to our senses, and enhance our interactions with our surroundings. We’ll be more connected to the Internet than we ever have before and we’ll be able to see useful images and data overlaid onto the real world.
Granted, Glass is still in its early days. It doesn’t yet have its own cellular radio, so it has to sync up with mobile phones via Bluetooth to access Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G data connections.
As of now, Google Glass can do things like record video, send text messages, provide translations, and give directions.
But Google has been holding hackathons for developers to come up with more ways to use Glass. The search giant also recently held a competition to give everyday people a chance to get their hands on Glass and its API. Anyone who wanted Glass had to write on either Twitter or Google+ what they would do with Glass and include the hashtag #ifihadglass.
Glass does raise some privacy concerns. And before it really takes off, Google will need to find a way to make it appeal to the masses. As of now, Glass seems to appeal more to men than women, according to a TechCrunch analysis of #ifihadglass tweets and Google+ posts. It’s also pretty expensive at $1,500.
Still, Google Glass has the potential to disrupt a lot of industries, from Hollywood to air travel.
Here are a few of them.
Conventional GPS is essentially already dead because so many people have the same service on their phones. But since many states ban the use of cell phones while driving, Google Glass will be a great alternative. Sure, you could pull up the directions before you start driving and even receive voice-based turn-by-turn directions. But people still like to see where they're going -- and Glass does that.
Google Glass will open up the doors to more creative types of videography.
Already, there seems to be a push toward shooting movies on iPhones and creating new ways for people to consume and immerse themselves in video. With Glass, we'll be able to record video from an entirely new, first-person perspective.
When Google first announced Glass, for example, Google co-founder Sergey Brin used skydivers to demonstrate how people can now capture video from anywhere, without needing to physically hold a device.
Glass will likely be another nail in the coffin of traditional film.
JetBlue recently highlighted what it would do with Google Glass. If JetBlue had Glass, it 'would continue to help the world view air travel through a whole new lens,' the airline company wrote on Google+.
A few of the possibilities: real-time notifications for your flight status, a map for available outlets in the boarding area, taxi fare estimates for when you're leaving the airport, real-time garage capacity information, and directions to the baggage claim area.
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to be a plumber. But you do need to be able to read blueprints and know which pipes need to be adjusted or replaced.
A first-time plumber could receive input from Google Glass right in front of their eyes. No need for paper instructions anymore, or even instructions on an iPad, which could get in the way.
Instead, an inexperienced plumber could video chat with a professional via Google+ and receive step-by-step instructions.
Doctors and surgeons could ask Glass for real-time updates of a patient's vital signs. They could also use Glass for educational purposes.
'Imagine this, the surgeon whilst operating can see an overlay of a patients individual anatomy (obtained from pre operative scans) on top of their visual field,' Andrew Chow, a surgeon and entrepreneur, posited on Quora. 'They therefore know exactly where to cut, exactly where the tumour lies, exactly where to avoid damaging that crucial structure, the position of that blood vessel that's going to cause a lot of blood loss etc. This could have an impact upon patient care and outcomes on so many levels.'
Future versions of Google Glass could function as your own personal tour guide. Google already has Field Trip, the app that provides information basd on where you are. Glass with Field Trip could overlay the history of a museum as you walk by it. Inside a museum, Glass could guide you through a museum and even provide additional information on works of art. As of now, Google Glass doesn't offer indoor directions.
Using Google Glass in the classroom has vast implications. Students could live-stream the lecture to classmates who are out sick that day, while still being able to pay attention. On the other hand, students will have access to all the answers they need right in front of them while taking a test. That means schools will need to determine the best use cases for Glass in the classroom.
But Glass also has vast implications for language learning since it can provide real-time, text-based language translations of what people are saying.
Google Glass could one day help police officers identify known criminals -- a fairly feasible task given that Google already has facial recognition software.
Already, a company called Golden-i has created a headset for use by law enforcement. It features facial recognition, the ability to scan licence plates instantly, monitor vital signs, and remotely control other devices.
Google has said that it doesn't have any plans for advertising on Glass, but Glass could entirely change the way we interact with brands and businesses. Deals could pop up whenever you walk by a business offering a discount, or maybe even when you're drinking a cup of coffee.
Google gets all its consumer data from Gmail, web searches, YouTube, and Google+. So it knows a lot about what we do, where we go, and what we buy. Imagine walking by a store and an ad pops up for a pair of shoes from your favourite designer. Ads on Glass could be highly personal, so it's no surprise advertisers are begging to get them.
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