A week ago, I and many others were stopped in our tracks by the video released by Google to accompany their promotion – sadly, in North America only – for early adopters to try Google Glass.
Since its debut announcement a year ago, many people have been eagerly anticipating Glass. Back then, in its demo form, it was little more than a digital camera on a headset, but it was easy to see how it might develop, particularly in its Augmented Reality (AR) capabilities. Now, some of those capabilities are being fleshed out and they highlight the way Glass will integrate with Google’s other apps, services and products.
Consider for a moment Google+ Events.
Before this month’s trip to Poland with the British Guild of Travel Writers, I set up a G+ Event for BGTW members on G+, which went ‘live’ as we landed and switched my phone to ‘event mode’ so that every time I took a photo it automatically uploaded it straight to the event where all our photos, posts and video were being aggregated.
It’s not hard to see how Glass would do the same thing.
Consider Travmonkey.com. (This is the start of my #PleaseGoogleGivePaulDowAGlassToReview campaign.)
Paul Dow, Travmonkey’s founder, has been pioneering Live Blog Trips, where he or one of his team goes to a destination for a short break and live tweets his/her experiences with images posted on Instagram. It’s not unique. Four years ago Benji Lanyado used to base his ‘live’ TwiTrips for the Guardian newspaper on tweeted recommendations from his followers, and its a key element for most blog trips – ‘live’ tweeting while there, and then writing longer blog posts afterwards.
Imagine though, how much more seamless that trip might be if he “Glassed” it, running images, voice, video, synchronised with Google Maps into a public G+ Event. Interviews with guides. Q & A sessions in a live Google Hangout on Air.
It might seem that to juggle all that would require advanced ‘live’ broadcasting skills & technique, but watch out. Generation Z are already masters at using multiple platforms and devices simultaneously in a continuous online conversation. In a couple of years time they will take to this tech like ducks to water, making our current travel blogging generation look like plodding dinosaurs. The good ones will become rock stars… well, video stars… selling their ‘live’ content into mainstream media sites and web TV channels.
So, if you are a travel blogger and eager to develop your professional skills for the future, learn this phrase: “Ok Glass…”
(Except, if you are like me you won’t be able to get the image out of your mind of an early adopting American composer having conversations with himself! No matter. You’ll probably be able to personalise your Glass with its own name. So something along the lines of “Ok, DeMille, are you ready to take a close-up?”.)
At a slight tangent, here’s another prediction, drawn from some more loose strands…
- Google likes to be associated with active sports in its marketing.
- Glass’ biggest tech problem is size. Components, particularly batteries, have to be squeezed into a tiny ‘form factor’.
- Google is working with non-IT brands and manufacturers. (Eg. Warby Parker)
I think that the technology in Glass marks a step change in mobile tech. Not the seemless integration between geolocated apps and devices, but, as Mike Elgan puts it, the transition to mainstream wearable computing.
So it’s a safe bet that in the very near future we will see a range of Google branded physical products such as bicycle helmets, ski helmets and goggles, appearing. Maybe there will be combination products, paired up so that data from one is displayed on the other? Google Bikes & Trainers talking to Google Glass, Google Snowboards talking to Google Goggles. Google Cars… well, just talking… & throwing stuff up onto a windscreen HUD!
And maybe that would explain the launching of Google retail outlets, when at the moment they only have three models of Nexus and a Chromebook to sell!