Google Glass, Tomorrow’s Technology Today{17}

There are so many different technologies that are being developed in the modern world. We live in an age of technology. In our lifetime, we have seen cellphones emerge from the big Nextel bricks and large flip phones that used to exist, to the sleek iPhones, powerful Samsung S4s and powerful HTC Ones of today. There are so many incredible innovations being made to the world of technology, and all of these are developed using familiar processes that we have studied in CIS 311. The prototyping development method is especially useful in creating the technology of tomorrow. I chose one, in particular, to speak about today, and that is Google’s new Google Glass.

Google’s innovative new wearable computer, Google Glass, is classified as an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) and augmented reality device (ARD). It was taken on under Google X, the same branch of Google that develops other futuristic technologies such as driverless cars. The project lead for Google Glass is Babak Parviz. This new technology has been in development for years, but is currently finally under beta testing by so-called “Google Explorers”, individuals who can apply to be the trial market for Google Glass, and the final product is predicted to hit the mainstream market by the end of this year. Google’s chosen tagline for this new, forward-thinking product is “getting technology out of the way”. The main focus of Glass is to offer consumers technology that is seamlessly and effortlessly incorporated into their daily lives, making it easier for consumers to get the information they need, when they need it.

Google Glass was built to answer specific consumer desires and needs. According to Google, it provides “a lot of the same features as a mobile phone” (Bilton, NY Times). Glass provides a map function, to find directions on the fly, a seamless camera, and e-mail. Glass enables the consumer to get answers to everyday questions, no matter where they are.  It provides a method for consumers to record what they see—whether by snapshot or video—as they see it. It allows users to find various colors for a jacket or pair of shoes as they shop, and order it online. Google Glass even provides the consumer with coupons for various local restaurants and merchants as they’re out on the town, similar to Yelp. Glass can also provide guided tours for travelers in a new area, although consumers will have to be willing to deal with ads along the way. Another feature, built specifically for business users of Google Glass, is the facial recognition, which will match an individual that a consumer meets to a contact. This is especially convenient to help make sure that no one ever forgets an important name again. However, the other question is, will lit be professional to wear Google Glass at business events?

Throwaway prototyping has produced three different versions of Google Glass that are out for testing among the various “Google Explorers” chosen to test the product. The original Google Glass is a frame without a lens, sporting a small device on the right side, and thin wire nose rests to support the frame. It is modern, yet takes some getting used to when seen worn by a Google Explorer. The next version of Google Glass is the Google Explorer, created for the outdoorsy and adventurous Google Glass consumer. This version includes dark sunglasses attached to the Glass frame. Finally, the newest version of Google Glass is Google Glass Titanium Edition, theoretically for prescription lens wearers who would like to take advantage of Glass. This version of Glass provides lightweight titanium frames that can then be fitted for the consumer’s own particular prescription.

The biggest issue currently with Google Glass is that of privacy. Those who do not own Google Glass are worried that their daily movements and activities will be recorded by a consumer who owns Glass in their midst, since it’s impossible to tell whether or not an individual is taking a photo or recording an event. It is a valid issue, and Google has since released an almost-comical, but also serious list of “Do’s’ and Don’ts” for using Google Glass, to help avoid consumers becoming what has been dubbed “Glassholes”. This list includes tips like “ask someone before you take a photo or film them” and “don’t stand in a corner of a room and stare at everyone around you” or “don’t simply stand and stare up at the sky”. For the most part, Google Explorers are still learning how to fully incorporate Google Glass into their daily lives. Glass provides a lot of information in the consumer’s direct point of view all at once, and consumers will need some time to get used to the information flow. Critics say that Google Glass is simply “too much”, and that people do not need to be flooded with such an information overload.

Despite the flaws in the current prototype, it seems that Google Glass, for the most part, has a solid future in the consumer market. In an age built around technology, people are hungry for new technologies to show off, to help make their lives easier, or to simply utilize in new and creative ways. There is a documentary, called Project 2×1, based in Brooklyn that was built solely around Google Glass, using Glass as an innovative new form of a “first-hand perspective” in the documentary. Google Glass will be a huge benefit for people who are constantly on the go, and do not necessarily want to deal with pulling out a cell phone or a GPS device to find directions, or simply need to know in a hurry when their next appointment is. With further testing by Google Explorers, I believe that Google Glass will be a successful new technology in the market.




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