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What will Google Glasses mean for the future of the web?

Google Glass is an eye wear device that places data right in front of your eyes. It’s a camera, microphone, display, touchpad and battery or rolled into one ‘straight out of star trek’ spectacle frames. It displays necessary data through a high resolution prism screen perched on the top right of your right eye’s field of vision.

The Hype and the Hoopla
When the public and industry experts first heard about Google’s Project Glass, it was brushed aside as too gimmicky to be of any use whatsoever. The feeling was that it would join other products in Google’s graveyard like Google Wave, Google videos and many others that failed to find traction amongst users. But Google Inc.’s latest mobile device is slowly and surely making the industry sit up and take notice. Since the time its first teaser video was released sometime in April 2012, a lot of hype has been generated around this augmented reality device. It’s being heralded as the future of the web, and also something that could very well trigger the dawn of a new era in mobile commerce.

It’s surprising really that the same people who earlier viewed this device with jaundiced eyes are talking about it as the next big thing. Although a fully consumer ready version will only be available sometime by the end of 2013, Google’s already pushing out developers editions and the buzz from the developer’s quarters is extraordinary. The device’s user features can be experienced in a video posted by Google; the features include the ability to receive and execute onscreen directions, use voice commands, capture videos, browse the web and indulge in social sharing.

Future of the Web! Really?
Google wants you to see the world through its eyes. Firstly, Google Glass offers you plenty of smartphone features, within an ‘augmented reality’ ecosystem, which in itself sets you up to explore a host of capabilities.

The fabric of the World Wide Web is based on interactions and there is very little doubt that Google Glass is all set to enhance this fabric, facilitate faster interactions, minimize distractions and speed up informed decision making in our daily lives.
Some of the benefits of Google Glass that could be called the harbinger of the future are already quite evident. For e.g. the whole process of getting directions has become more intuitive; the user can view real time translations of something that’s being said to you in another language; no need to key in the text and take it through the translator. This is just a small sampling of what it can already do, but let’s take a look at our crystal ball and see how Google Glass can shape the future of the web. It’s important to note that how Google Glass changes the scope and scale of the web and web based activities is dependent on the imagination of developers and all the apps they build to make use of this device’s capabilities.

Intuitive Recognition
There is already a Facebook app for Glass, so think of a future, wherein you take a picture with Glass and Facebook can immediately recognize the picture or video and infer who you are with, your location and what you are doing. That’s not just cool; it’s the perfect immersive social media experience.

Identification Will get Simpler
Developers have already begun working on apps that help identify people in a crowd, using a complex set of algorithms that take into consideration the face, the clothes that the person is wearing and plenty of other attributes, provided the wearer already has a photo of the said person in the Google Glasses data base. Think of what this would do to our security apparatus. Security personnel wearing Google Glasses, already pre fed with pictures of criminal elements, can identify them immediately in a crowd. Think of what this would mean to airport security or for that matter the security of any public space. The possibilities are simply amazing. The web has had a huge role to play in improving our security setups, and a combination of the Web and the Google Glasses is all set to improve them further.

An Intuitive Shopping Experience
Think of a scenario wherein you are wearing your Google Glass, while you are shopping at a departmental store. You are looking at a particular can of beans, when your screen starts displaying cheaper options or some discounts on offer on that particular can of beans. As can be imagined, this will take your shopping experience to a whole new level altogether. Web commerce and web based promotions will break from the confines of the various devices, and the necessary information will be delivered right in front of your eyes, at the right time and at the right place.

A Device that Understands What’s important to You
What if somebody like me is writing an article on Google Glass with his eyewear on? As soon as he begins typing his article, Google Glass starts pulling up articles on Google Glass from the writer’s past, which he might have searched for previously, and which are relevant to the topic on hand. The writer’s Google Glass is watching what he is typing and coming up with relevant reference material that can add to his writing efforts! That’s the kind of future we are looking at with Google Glass. You don’t have to spend time conducting research, the research will be happening right in front of your eyes, without you making an effort in this regard. The device will recognize what you are writing and associate it with your activities in the past with respect to the same topic.

The popularity of the World Wide Web stems from its benefits. Google Glasses aims to weave these benefits into human interactions. More than a device, it seeks to act as an extension of the user that will try to infer his thought process to deliver actionable data, which leads to better decisions. We will just have to wait and watch how Google Glasses will shape the future of the web. All I can say with surety is that it’s going not just going to impact the way we use the web but will play a huge role in defining how we lead our daily lives.

Author info: This post was written for Horizon Interactive Awards by John Siebert. John Siebert is a Marketing Guru and Web Professional as well as owner of http://nycwebdesigner.org, a New York City Web Design business.