Google Glass :
For us in the optical industry we look on in fascination at the prospect of Google bringing their project Glass to mass market. Phase 1 has come and gone as 10,000 US “explorers” were allowed to purchase one of these frames and experiment with them. Primarily, Google offered tenders for purchasing project Glass and those that submitted an interesting concept for using Glass were accepted. The unwritten onus on each explorer was to critique the product and furnish feedback to further enhance and improve the project.
Understandably the number of uses is as yet limited but the concept and potential can already be grasped with navigational functionality, search functionality, retrieving email and social media alerts etc.
Looking up to activate and retrieve these messages/signals took some time to be perfected. The voices commands and touch activation all take practice but are generally ease to adapt to. Glass works via blue tooth from your mobile phone relying on your phone to provide wireless internet access. Battery life is limited and severely so if you are recording or taking a lot of photos etc.
Feedback from most of the Glass explorers has a common thread. Wearing Glass draws a lot of attention. It invites a lot of stranger interaction and can be bothersome for those individuals concerned that the wearer is recording their conversation or actions.
Phase 2 has arrived where Google have offered the current 10,000 Glass explorers to each invite 3 friends onto the testing platform. This will spread the knowledge, usability and feedback greatly. Many companies are quickly adapting apps to be uploaded to Glass when it goes into general release scheduled for 2014.
One recent example is from Fancy the online shopping site which will allow glass wears to zoom in on a product, locate it and purchase it, all in an instant.
Google announce last week that it will offer stereo ear buds as an extra and offer music downloads from Google play. No mention of including your ITunes music library!
Google Glass has as many possibilities as we can dream up. But to even draw on what is currently in production there are a huge upside for anyone with visual difficulties. Those blind or partially sight could benefit greatly from the voice directed navigation functionality. The ability for these patients to get around in their own locality or in any new location is breath taking. Voice recognition allows the wearer to ask Glass to get the directions to any location as recorded within Google maps. Recommendations are given even if you do not have a specific destination, “Glass is there a hairdresser near me”! You get the idea.
Google has yet to clarify how they will offer Glass to the glasses wearing public. This is a given and I assume well underway. Fitting a rimless type prescription lens, as a one or two piece lens should pose very few challenges as brow bar rimless frames are available with decades.
Opticalrooms is excited about project Glass; we hope to be involved with this new development once it leaves the US shores. There is a long way to go in making this accessory have mass market appeal but the pace of change is such who can predict. Perhaps Google has taken the innovation crown from Apple at this stage.
We will keep you informed.