Google published a video of what they envision these glasses will display for users and we talk about possible applications for Project Glass.
It’s been circulating around the rumor mill for the past few months that Google was developing a pair of augmented reality glasses. Yesterday, Google officially announced its product named “Project Glass” – a pair of glasses with a built-in heads up display for users to digitally interact with the world around them.
The project has an official Google Plus page that shows the user wearing a minimalist looking pair of glasses. The “pair” however, only has one lens over the right eye and a front facing camera. Google released a concept video yesterday of what it envisions the glasses will be able to do for the wearer.
Features highlighted in the video include looking at the skyline and getting a weather report, having texts display in your line of vision, being able to respond to those texts via voice commands, getting turn by turn directions to your destination, and even getting indoor directions to different sections of a store or mall. And of course, to make sure that Google Plus is incorporated into every product Google now pushes out, the video also portrayed the user seeing a cool piece of art on the street and using voice commands to take a picture and post to Google Plus.
At this juncture, it seems like Google’s vision is to turn the glasses into a smart phone substitution. Currently, there is no working prototype of the glasses available. However, the Google Plus page for Project Glass is calling for input and features users would like to see from the product in the future.
Skeptics said that you don’t really need any of those features in your line of sight at all times, and consequently predicted that the whole thing would flop. However, it seems worth noting that most consumer technology doesn’t fill a really important need and yet we all are buying smartphones to make sure we can still surf the Internet on the bus, in the airport, or in the bathroom.
Another report points out that these may not be the most practical devices for just wearing around day in and day out, but that there are some niches that Google could tap into to really get these glasses selling well. First, tourism. Anything you look at in a skyline could provide video, pictures, audio recordings of facts and trivia, right to your glasses lens.
One avenue that could also potentially make good use of Project Glass would be shopping and retail. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that you could see a pair of pants you like, but not in a color you like. So, you start interacting with the product through your glasses, going to an online product page and looking at different colors available for the article of clothing you’re interested in. Companies like Groupon or LivingSocial might also be able to really make a profit from Project Glass. Look at a restaurant on the street and you could see coupons for that location.
A potential downside to purchasing anything through your glasses is that Google could potentially invade even more of your life with advertising. With your new eyewear, the company could even make it specific to where you look, making sure you always see what the company wants you to see.
Real estate could also have a big use for this product. As you go into a home for an open house, a realtor could list the dimensions of every room, the previous owner history, point out places where repairs have been done, and could even overlay what you see with a better decorating scheme to make the whole home more enticing to buy.
And for all networking gurus and party goers, the glasses could match contacts with faces so you never have to awkwardly ask for someone’s name, even though you’ve met five times before. Of course, this could help with business meetings as well, where you were introduced someone, but you were quietly surfing the Internet with your glasses instead of paying attention when your new co-worker introduced himself.
If you want to read more about Google’s latest big ideas, check out our blog post about Google’s changes coming to its search engine.