Google’s Project Glass: Is This the Future of IT Consumerization?
Can reality be constantly augmented? Will the way humans interact with their everyday surroundings resemble a “Terminator” style viewing of data overlays and visualizations that presumably help the individual in myriad ways? This isn’t a post about “should” we as a race, race towards this “better living” through augmentation. It is simply a question of will we, when will we and what may it look like when we do? One thing does seem quite clear. The consumerization of IT didn’t stop with enterprises adopting a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) mentality, ushering iPads and user chosen apps into the corporate office faster than a single-cup Keurig machine, it began with it. Now, Google is continually rolling out glimpses and not too subtle hints as to what this future of IT Consumerization will look like.
The Future as Envisioned by Google
Keep in mind, much of the below is still in concept form, yet, today – 4/4/12 – alone in one moment in time, 2 pieces of this augmented future literally popped up in the TopCoder Google+ stream. I took a screen shot to capture the moment.
When not one, but two cohesive stories simultaneously emerge, you tend to take notice. I did, and I dove deeper into each and remembered a quirky little Google Labs video I had seen in the past as well. Starting with the “quirky” video, you may recall Google released Google Goggles as an Android and then iPhone app in 2010. The premise is wholly simple, even if the execution of it all is not. Search via photos, not via text. I encourage you to watch the 2 minute video if you don’t recall the “why” behind the Google Goggles app.
Then today, we’re delivered these futuristic yet refined concepts of a wearable Google device from this Business Insider story. A few of the images from this story are displayed below. It’s clear from the design concepts that the purpose of the device is to take the current (and some not yet achievable) capabilities of the mobile phone and set them free, hands-free that is.
And this close-up, showcases some of the possible features such as video chat and an embedded camera.
With images like this surfacing, and already knowing why the aforementioned mobile application “Google Goggles” exists, most people can begin to forge together the not so disparate pieces. But even if you couldn’t see where this was headed, Google took care of that as well upon releasing this brand new video, delivering a POV (Point of View) that shows us what a Google Goggles user might be experiencing in the near future.
What’s Missing Is Where the Future Is
Notice a few things that were missing from the above video? Here are three that caught our attention.
No one is touching anything. Besides the physical book and then the Ukulele rooftop serenade, the user is never touching a screen, or even gesturing at one. This doesn’t mean eye movements won’t play a big role, but from what we can actually see, it’s all about voice command. As many enterprises are finally putting the proper emphasis on mobile and tablet UI/UX – which is primarily based on a touch experience – the above videos show us that perhaps their attention should already be pivoting to applications centered around voice, video and augmented imagery.
Almost ominously missing is any sort of recommendation for the user. You have to think this was a conscious choice made by Google. They clearly showcase G+, Google Talk, Google Places, Google Maps and more, but avoid promoting Google Offers, their deal-of-the-day service. Perhaps they wanted to keep the video more “pure” and avoid the obvious monetization opportunities that exist, but the omission is evident. The platform for marketers and advertisers to bring “in time” recommendations to users will create amazing opportunities and will be a fun space to watch evolve.
Google didn’t include much they can’t already accomplish – outside the obvious current hardware limitations – but the things we mentioned above are all existing arrows in the proverbial Google quiver. What will be truly astonishing is the next generation of the recognition technology that can feed into Big Data algorithms and assist a user who is embracing quantified self applications to improve one’s life. It’s one thing to receive timely discounts on things you may purchase, it’s another thing entirely to wear a device that can literally help you live longer.
On point read: Quantified Self – Epicenter of Disruptive Innovation - as featured on InnovationExcellence.com
Even though much of the above is at this point speculative, what’s not is that these types of devices are coming and most likely coming fairly quickly. What does it mean for your enterprise? What does it mean for how you will approach applications and the future consumerization of IT? Tell us in the comments or tweet us @TopCoder.
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image credit: businessinsider.com, siliconangle.com video credits: youtube.com/google