Tag Archives: Google Glass

Glass, 2 Years Passed

Written by: Clare Dussman
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Two years ago, I flew to Mountain View to cash in my golden tweet for what was being called a game-changer in the tech revolution and an assault device against personal privacy: Google Glass. Being a bleeding edge tech enthusiast, I was all in.

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Twenty-four months later, the Explorer program is over and though not exactly by choice, so is my Glass usage. Glass was well-made and intuitive. If I could wear it every day I would love it; however, others would not, which is why I do not.

Google made an elegant product and a horrific vertical.

Horrific may seem like a strong word, but it is purposeful. The people who came up to me asking why I was wearing it and if I was recording them were truly scared, uneasy, and defensive. Despite the extensive coverage of Glass in the media, there was distrust about heads-up displays so much so that wearing Glass was similar to having a controversial T-shirt on: you needed to be constantly at the ready to explain, defend, and oftentimes debate.

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It did not need to be that way. As a Glass Explorer, I think things could have been different. If I were the one to try and make it different, here is what I would have done:

  1. Brought down the cost. Part of what made Glass feel unobtainable was that it was financially unobtainable. The hardware did not warrant the steep price tag – even if the R&D cost did. The price tag immediately set Glass Explorers apart from the general public in a negative and pretentious way. At the consumer level, you cannot charge more than a thousand dollars for something that is in its humble beginnings and a luxury tech accessory.
  2. Advertised the ordinary. My favorite usage for Glass was more easily capturing presentation images, recordings, and whiteboard drawings during meetings without interrupting my concentration or the rest of the people in the room. When people categorize Glass with world travelers and NASA more than they see it as a useful tool for working moms to take better notes at a parent-teacher meeting, the device seems less relatable.
  3. Shed literal light on privacy concerns. You can clearly tell when someone with Glass is taking video because the screen lights up, but because the general public was not educated on Glass’ features in a clear and concentrated way, fear spread like wildfire. If there had been a small light on the headset that lit when people were recording, everyone could have relaxed a little. Although it is not ideal, features like this could have put the non-Glass wearing public at ease.

Launching a new category is no easy task. But, the lesson to be learned from Glass is not a new one: perception is reality and worry can overrule product.

Looking forward, I think Google’s pivot toward the business sector is smart, but they need to move quickly. There are acquisitions going on that point toward a competitor not far behind.

This article is a compilation of both my own ideas and conversations I have had with countless others while wearing Glass. Thank you to everyone who had educated and constructive conversations with me, greatly helping me understand the technology, the vertical, and the pros and cons of wearing bleeding edge technology on yo face.

Google Glass The Future Is Now

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Wearable technology, specifically head mounted displays have been a part of science fiction canon for a very long time. Fans of the 80’s anime series Dragon Ball were accustomed to seeing characters with their own version of “Google Glass” interfaces. This preexisting association can be both a positive and a negative when it comes to the potential mass adoption of Google Glass.

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The explosion of fitness related wearable technology with the Fit Bit, Nike Fuel Band & the recently launched Jawbone fitness band have led to a rise in mass appeal for wearable technology. The trend has been if the wearable technology provides relevance & utility as a natural extension of our daily lives we are willing to put our time & dollars towards supporting this type of product. For Google Glass, the goal is to further integrate the real world into the Google ecosystem thus creating a natural extension into your daily life, even if you look a bit like Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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Google Glass has been the subject of a lot of hype over the past few months. From influencers wearing them at SXSW to recent sightings throughout NYC. What started as a project from Google X Labs is now on the verge of becoming a mainstream device. Whether this will go from Uber nerd category to mainstream essential is yet to be seen, but this will fundamentally impact the intersection of physical & digital moving forward.

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Google Glass, What are the specs and what should I expect from the UX?

The recent release of the Google Glass tech specs outline Google’s commitment to bring the product to market and attempt to redefine how we interact with the physical world. The specs include:

  • a high resolution display which is equivalent to a 25 inch HD TV from 8 feet away
  • 5 MP camera and 720P video
  • Bone condution audio transducer
  • Wi-fi & Bluetooth enabled
  • 12 GB of useable memory synced with Google cloud storage (16 GB total)
  • 1 full day of typical use

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Outside of the tech specs, I was really interested in diving into the Google Mirror developer API’s. This is where you can really begin to see how Google plans on allowing the developer ecosystem to support the product & experiences moving forward.

One of the core elements of the user experience is tied to the concept of Timeline Cards. These cards display the top level content that users will see. There are essentially two levels of navigation, with a top level primary and a sub-timeline for easy organization. Timeline cards support text, rich HTML, images or video content. From a brand perspective, understanding the relationship between relevant content & how information is presented & consumed via Timeline cards will be a key area to focus on as launch approaches.

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Similar to how Facebook allows the usage of “action objects” to further drive content acceleration and discoverability through the social graph, the Google Mirror API allows the addition of action based interactivity into the app experience. For now commands such as “read aloud”, “reply by voice” and “navigate to” are inherent to the navigation, but this can extend “discover” or other action verbs. More importantly, it will be interesting to track how user actions are then reported back, or ultimately mapped to contextual or location based search. It is easy to see how actions could then be turned into opportunities to share both within the construct of Google & possibly overlays to the physical world via augmented reality tagging or proximity based recommendations.

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Subscriptions seem to be a key element to the Google Glass experience. Both from an engagement & tracking standpoint. Subscriptions tell you when users choose specific menu items or when they share to a contact. Once an action is taken, it will be possible to take a specific action, such as share a photo. This will allow branded experiences to see what is truly engaging to the end user.

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Location is going to be a key element of Google Glass. If the user opt’s-in and grants access it is possible to use the Google Mirror API to observe the user’s location in timeline items, request their last known location directly, and subscribe to periodic location updates. You can also deliver pre-rendered map images in timeline cards by giving the Mirror API the coordinates to draw. Basically, location is the key attribute to connect the user to their environment that can then be overlaid map data or even with augmented reality interfaces.

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The biggest brand opportunities will be tied to mapping users locations with digital overlays to take real-world actions. This is already coming to life through Google’s augmented reality massively multiplayer online game for Android Ingress. Ingress seems to be designed with Google Glass in mind. I will be going into deeper detail around the impact of Ingress and the potential for brands in a future post but brands such as Zipcar & Jamba Juice are already testing the impact that this type of engagement can provide.

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What is the potential for Google Glass over the next 3-5 years?

Interconnectivity – The intersection of technology and utility is going to be a key area of focus over the next 5 years. Interconnection between smart grid technology in our homes that intersect with mobile devices such as Google Glass will continue to gain traction. When it comes to wearable technology, the overlay of digital into our everyday lives via products such as Google Glass are just the tip of the iceberg on a new landscape of interaction both physically and socially. Changing the view of real world with digital overlays will continue to develop into a new form of communication and interaction.

Contextual Data – The trend digitally is a movement from mass social interaction towards contextual networks. This same concept will push through wearable technology. You look at the rise of the Nike Fuel band and the gamification and sharability of personal information. This trend will continue to expand beyond fitness into other facets of our lives. Data tied to fitness, work habits, leisure etc… will all begin to create different sets of data that can then be visualized, gamified and used to help us lead more efficient, effective lives.

This also maps to Google’s larger strategy tied to contextual & personalized search. If you watch what is happening from a search standpoint, one of the bigger trends is the move towards personalized & socially enabled search where results will differ by individual, and social weighting of content will be a key driver to determine what search results you see. This coincides with Google Glass, as the intersection of location, search & social are evident based on how the UX is being defined.

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Content anywhere – How we consume content has changed significantly over the last decade. Content ubiquity will become accelerated with Google Glass and similar products that provide HD display’s and voice activated controls allowing for access to streaming content on demand. This is just the beginning as paper thin displays and wearable technology continues to evolve. What was once thought to be science fiction is quickly becoming reality.

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Follow Tom Edwards @BlackFin360

2013 SXSW Recap

Written by: Larry Weintraub
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I’ve had a few days to digest my SXSW Interactive journey so here is a recap…

If I had to summarize this year in 3 words it would be, Don’t Fear Failure. That was a mantra I heard from mega venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla and echoed (in his own subtle way) by SpaceX / Tesla founder, Elon Musk. Both were inspirational speakers and when merged with the question asked of Musk, “You will be disappointed if _______ doesn’t happen in your lifetime?” and the chalkboards I saw around an Austin hi-rise construction site that stated, “Before I Die I Want To _______” I came away with an urgency and a confidence to take on the world.

Yes, this year was more crowded than ever. Trying to get into a panel meant missing other panels because it required a 45 minute pre-session sit-in to guarantee a seat. And parties, well, there were plenty, but again, if you wanted to go to the big ones, count on showing up well ahead of the start time. And I heard a lot of negativity. “This is my last year.” or “wow, this place is ridiculous, I can’t get into anything.” But if you’ve been coming to SXSW for a few years, then you learn how to navigate Austin for these few wonderful days. Flexibility is key and you want to give yourself room to end up on an unplanned adventure that might put you on a bus or cab ride to something you will never forget. And the food, believe it or not, Austin’s food gets better every year. It is already my favorite food town in America but each year I discover even more, often from a truck or at a party. Rarely from an actual sit down restaurant. (Not knocking Austin restaurants, I just rarely find myself eating at one during SXSW).

In addition to the great panels, parties, food, and inspirational speeches, I also observed a lot of trends and new technologies. I paid close attention to how brands were vying for attention and gleaned valuable insights into where we’re headed as interactive human beings.  Here are some of my highlights (and thanks to my friends Brad, Tom, Bryon, and Jeff at The Marketing Arm for helping to compile this list):

MakerBot

Bre Pettis, the founder and creator of the 3D Printer opened the conference by explaining all the ways that 3D printing is changing our lives. In addition to telling us how easy it is to replicate missing toy train tracks and create shot glasses, he debuted the new 3D scanner which literally spun a garden gnome on a plate while lasers captured all aspects of the object.  While we all don’t need a 3D Printer today, at a reasonable cost of $2,200 (relative to its magic-like capability), it was easy to see how these could be a home staple in the coming years.

Google Glass, Talking Shoes, and Popcorn

The new futuristic Terminator-style Google Glasses were all the rage at SXSW. There were demonstrations and a handful of friends of Google were spotted donning their glasses about town. Personally, I can’t wait for these. Meanwhile at the Google Playground popcorn, candy, and mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches kept me satiated as I did the obstacle course wearing talking shoes that told me to keep going when I really wanted to rest and have a root beer float.

3M’s Virtual Concierge

If you were wondering where to go and what to do at SXSW, never fear, Jennie, 3M’s hologram-ish virtual concierge was there to answer your questions and make you uncomfortable with her Disney Haunted Mansion-like eyes that followed you as you strolled the Austin Convention Center. I actually liked this display and saw it again at JFK airport welcoming me to the Big Apple. If you make your living as a greeter, you may want to start expanding your skill set.

Brand Activations

Chevy provided the best utility once again with their Catch A Ride activation enabling people to test drive everything from an electric Volt to a sporty Corvette. Need a lift in the rain, try flagging down a Chevy. No really, try. Needless to say, I got pretty wet on Saturday.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick spoke at the conference and told us all about the trials of bucking up against the old world of taxi driver cartels. Meanwhile Uber sports cars were seen driving people around along with Uber pedicabs which offered free rides to Samsung Galaxy phone owners.

Ford could be spotted showing off their open source programming for their vehicles with a collaboration with Glympse. If you don’t know, Glympse is an app that can show your friends where you are when en route to meet up. It may sound a bit creepy, but think about how many times you’ve wondered what’s taking your buddy so long to get to you.

Getting a drink in Austin is not that hard to do. Local vodka company, Tito’s made it even easier by providing the Tito’s Trolley that circled downtown Austin while whetting your booze whistle in the process. A simple activation that ironically stood out in a crowded field of brand activations.

Award for Standout Brand

Meanwhile, this year’s award for most visible brand was Samsung. There were numerous activations including pop-up stores, rooftop party decks, the aforementioned pedicabs, old-school phone booths, and even a giant building enabled with NFC which offered up cupcakes, drinks, and snacks when your Galaxy Tab phone was tapped against the bricks.

Crowdsourcing in Action

Merging branding with innovation, American Airlines and AT&T combined for a Hack to create the next great travel app. We didn’t get to see the results, but we were told that over 50 developers participated in the event.

Apps and mCommerce Aplenty

In the App world, there were some previous year favorites hanging around such as Highlight and GroupMe both geared to encouraging people to get to know each other a little better amongst the crowds of people. While mobile payments could be felt from Square, Level Up, Intuit, and others. It was actually hard to pay with cash at times and nearly every food truck in Austin was ready to swipe your credit card across their iPhone.

Content Galore

Content was king at SXSW this year. TV networks were prevalent and at any moment you could find yourself posing on the Game of Thrones throne, meeting the stars of Deadliest Catch, checking out with SyFy Network and Warner Brothers had to offer, or learning the secrets of the new Netflix season of Arrested Development.

Also showcasing in the quickly growing field of digital content was the comedy troupe JASH, made up of Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Reggie Watts, and Tim & Eric. Underwritten by Mountain Dew’s new energy drink Kickstart and built on the YouTube Channel platform, JASH made quite the splash. If the teaser they provided at SXSW was a sign of times to come, we should see some great comedy coming our way and some incredible brand integration that feels relatively natural and  not forced.

So much to see, so little time, so much fun, so much inspiration.