Wearable computing is the next technology frontier. As more and more computing power gets packed in smaller and smaller devices, we are looking at a future where technology-augmented capabilities of humans will enable us to be far more productive and impactful. Check out views of Piyush Kumar, Product Management Consultant at GoodWorkLabs and a wannabe ‘Glasshole’.
Among the various wearable computing devices leading this revolution, Google Glass is undoubtedly one of the most discussed and closely observed one. While it remains to be seen how the world will react to the new levels of intrusion into people’s personal space that this device promises to bring, here are a few of my ideas about how Google Glass can and might become indispensable part of our lives in future.
Google Glass is a wearable computing device, the key word here being wearable. This would mean that the device is in contact with our body at all times while active, and can potentially detect any sudden variation in our pulse rate, body temperature and other vital signs. Combining this with the device’s computational capabilities, we can imagine a scenario where the device can detect a sudden change in our metabolic activities, and send out alerts with the necessary details to our emergency contacts, preventing emergencies- especially for senior citizens and unattended individuals.
This idea came to me while travelling to work one day. As the bus approached my stop, a fellow passenger approached the bus conductor to collect his change which the conductor refused to give back saying he did not have any change to give him and asked to passenger to let it go as it was a small amount anyways. The passenger- presumably an IT professional (J) immediately took his smartphone out and threatened the Conductor that if he did not return the change, he would post his picture online. Immediately, the Conductor found change in his bag and gave it to the passenger!
In the light of this incident and the law and order situation in countries like India, where most of the cases of individual harassment are never proven for the lack of concrete evidence, a device like Google Glass can be hugely advantageous as it can be made to start immediately recording the incident as it takes place, as well as alert the necessary people and organizations with details about the individual, location and incident among others.
The Google Glass can be made to show the location of other active Google Glass devices in a given region along with live feed of a situation, enabling rescue teams to become more efficient in case of riots, building fires and other man-made disasters by helping in better allocation of rescue team resources, prioritizing operations and identifying shortest routes.
Online and Offline Shopping:
Shopping experience can take a whole new dimension with Google Glass, given the fact that the Google Glass can potentially contain all of a user’s identity information securely. This, combined with services like Google Wallet, can help users to simply walk into a store, scan the barcode on an item using the camera on the device and make payment through their Google Wallet and walk out of the store. Also, the location sensing services combined with Google Glass’s secure user identification can mean personalized deals and discounts in stores and restaurants nearby.
While one of the biggest gripes about Google Glass is the threat to people’s privacy it poses in social settings like sitting in a bar or walking down the street, the device brings some very interesting options for individuals trying to socialize- especially with other Google Glass users.
The Google Glass in a Google device which naturally means that it will have the capability to access the Google profile of the user- should they choose to make it available publicly. So, when a Google Glass user spots another user wearing a similar device, the devices can be used to access each other’s Google and other public profiles online and know about them even before they start a conversation. This feature can have the necessary privacy controls to give the owner of the profile complete control over who views their profile and what they see in it. The device can also allow users to connect with each other and share information the way it is done currently via other mobile devices like Smartphones, Tablets and Computers.
Essentially Making the Smartphones Redundant:
Along with the above mentioned ways, which is by no means a complete list, the Google Glass has the potential to make the smartphones and tablets redundant, or at least take over a large chunk of their utility. It can do so by easily replacing the Smartphone screens with the Google Glass screen and the touch-based input systems with Voice-based systems. Everything that a Smartphone or Tablet does today, can be potentially done through a device like the Google Glass, while keeping your hands free.
UX Advantages of Google Glass
The best experiences are the ones that are never had. What I mean by this statement is that the best experiences happen when we enjoy the experience and do not get caught in all the factors enabling that experience. If you are having a great moment and want to capture it, you should be able to capture it with minimum disruptions and should not have to spend effort in trying to find the right camera, get the settings and either lose the moment, or end up with a not-so-great picture.
This is one of the key advantages of a device like Google Glass. It works almost in the background with minimum interruptions, allowing you to have a far more immersive experience with your surroundings.
Though Robert Scoble got away with his famous “Glasshole” pic as shown below, an overstated love for the device might not be advisable for everyone! 🙂