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Not Even Investors Know What Google Glass Is For 496

bdking writes "Google says it plans to ship its Google Glass Explorer Edition by the end of April to developers and consumers who paid $1,500 to test the computer-enabled eyewear, with vague plans for a general release (at a lower price) by year's end. But what will you really be able to do with Google Glass, beyond having information presented before your eyes? Even investors who are set to spend millions funding apps development for Google Glass have no clue. Is Google Glass being overhyped as a 'transformational' device?" I bet every real estate agent in the world would like one of these hooked up to a database of houses for sale, so they could instantly scan all the relevant information.
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Not Even Investors Know What Google Glass Is For

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  • If the thing had good enough heading and position information, it could overlay detailed information on the real world. But it's not that good. It's just a smartphone display.

    Also, I'll bet that driving with it will be prohibited after the first few hundred accidents.

    • by swanzilla ( 1458281 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:24PM (#43426309) Homepage

      If the thing had good enough heading and position information, it could overlay detailed information on the real world. But it's not that good. It's just a smartphone display.

      Too bad smartphones don't ship with GPS receivers, accelerometers, gyroscopes...

    • by alexborges ( 313924 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:34PM (#43426429)

      Ok let me explain:

      It is not a phone, it has (or shouldnt or will evolve to) no comunications capabilities beyond connecting to your already existing phone. It is a display, a voice gatherer and an api for your phone.

      Its posibilities, if my assumptions are right, are endless and i do think that, done right, it could be a game changer. However, I also think nobody copies shit better than apple. If this works, you can be sure the iEyeEye (ay ay ay), will be simpler, stupider and more loved.

      • And sadly it will beat out the stylish black iPatch for pirates. It's not open source, but nobody pays.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Smartphones already do that, it is called augmented reality. So I am not sure what you mean by "It's just a smartphone display."

      • and perfectly lined up with the real world. Smartphones do NOT do that already.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          So far augmented reality seems to line up very well, based on my limited uses. What did you have problems with?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Leave it on continuously and tell me how long your phone's battery lasts. Constantly polling the camera and other sensors and overlaying that data correctly enough to be useful (and for something like driving it has to be damn near perfect to be safe) will drain a battery of that size in a few minutes.

            This tech is being held back by the same limiting factor by which all mobile tech is being held back: batteries. Batteries are terrible. They've been terrible for a long time and barely gotten better. It takes

            • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:09PM (#43426993)

              When I am in the car, my battery should never deplete. My car surely makes enough electrical power for this task.

              Phones today could have much longer battery lives if we did not sacrifice all the alter of thin. My galaxy nexus is more comfortable to hold with the extended battery pack. The entire device could be that thick and it would allow even more battery life.

              Yeah, they suck, but we also make them way too small.

    • by Sulphur ( 1548251 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @06:04PM (#43427653)

      If the thing had good enough heading and position information, it could overlay detailed information on the real world. But it's not that good. It's just a smartphone display.

      Also, I'll bet that driving with it will be prohibited after the first few hundred accidents.

      There will be talk of prohibiting porn.

  • by Gerafin ( 1408009 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:21PM (#43426275)
    One word: advertising. Right in front of your eyes is the most prime advertising space I can imaine.
    • Indeed, screw Minority Report, this is so much better, since the ad venue stays with the user.

      You don't need to maintain venues anymore, advertising becomes cheaper and super effective.

      This is about learning your habits and ensuring you see only relevent ads. Anything else is a money loser for google in the long term.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:26PM (#43426329)
      Google has made it clear that making Glass minimally distracting is a major design goal. Showing advertising on it doesn't mesh well with that. Obviously advertising is Google's main business and it's reasonable to assume Glass feeds into that somehow, but I suspect it's for data collection, not display of ads.
      • What do you mean? Are you "distracted" by the ads in google search?

        I'm not. And no one else I know is.

    • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:53PM (#43426723)
      >>>One word: advertising. Right in front of your eyes.

      I really don't think masses will tolerate always-on advertising in a classical banner-video format in the visual field space. Plus liability that would come when people start claiming accidents on distraction.

      Advertising will have to be done via shaping your information feed and not by distracting or grabbing your attention.
    • by alen ( 225700 )

      so why would people spend $1000 on a device to view ads?

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot&worf,net> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:45PM (#43427445)

      One word: advertising. Right in front of your eyes is the most prime advertising space I can imaine.

      Bzzt. Wrong target.

      Advertising yes, but not to the user. The user is merely a tool to capture the goings on and identities of everyone else. Couple with GPS and other sensors and facial recognition, Google would now have a more complete picture of you.

      So if a Glass user catches you walking out of a bar, you can find new Google ads for bars, ladies and other things around that area when you surf the web.

      So yes, advertising, but it's putting more effective advertising in front of more people. Glass users will be few, but they'll be able to collect more information about more people than ever before.

      Heck, if a Glass user catches you walking out of a porn store, Google can then prompt you if you want to turn off safe search the next time you visit it.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:22PM (#43426287)

    This is nothing more than a head mounted smartphone, with less features.

    It'll probably take a bit of time in the hands of some crazy members of the public before we see any really innovative things out of this.

    Personally, I don't see the big deal, its really just a head mounted smarth phone. Just a slightly different form factor, but due to its single display, a bad one unless you like headaches. But ... thats usually said a lot just before something groundbreaking happens :)

  • Like the iPad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phasma Felis ( 582975 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:25PM (#43426325)
    This is gonna be like when we all scoffed about the iPad's potential market, isn't it?
    • Re:Like the iPad? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mtb_ogre ( 698802 ) <theogre@og[ ] ['reh' in gap]> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:33PM (#43426411) Homepage

      Apple was able to tell people all the cool things they could do with an iPad.

      Google: "You tell us what it's good for!"

      When the inventor can't easily explain what the best uses for their invention are, it's a safe bet there really aren't any.

      • Wait, I thought the best thing about the iPad was all the innovative apps. That means the public - not Apple - told us what the iPad was for.

      • by ZeroPly ( 881915 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:13PM (#43427057)
        Your mentality is that of an Apple consumer, not that of an inventor. You tell the corporations "tell me how I should use your product". My crowd tells them "show me what your product does, I'll decide if I have a use for it". In my world, iPads are complete crap - they're an appliance for Grandma that I can't connect my 1-wire scanner to, because it doesn't even have a USB port. On the other hand, an Arduino or cheap 3-D printer is a godsend. Google Glass is meant for me, not for you.

        As soon as Glass hits a good price point and works with QR codes, that's my next inventory solution. Put on your glasses and look at the QR code on a server, get a readout of what it is and who the point of contact is. Oh wait, your glasses just popped up the status from the SQL database "DO NOT POWER DOWN, LARGE UPDATE IN PROGRESS". Or when maintenance looks at the QR code on an HVAC controller, it pops up the web page to access it.

        You have no imagination, that's why you don't understand that this is just the first step to the rig in "Virtual Light" (fingers eagerly crossed). It has been so long since a large company did innovation for the sake of innovation, that nowadays it's an alien concept.
      • Re:Like the iPad? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:17PM (#43427095) Homepage Journal

        "When the inventor can't easily explain what the best uses for their invention are, "
        how naive.

        In the hardware industry, the best application seldom come from the company that developed it. Best game seldom come the the console makers, then best application for the iPad didn't come from Apple, and so on.

      • Re:Like the iPad? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:31PM (#43427289) Homepage Journal

        Honestly, I didn't feel after the Stevenote like I knew what the iPad was for any more than I felt I knew what Google Glasses was for after watching the video they produced. In fact, in many ways they're similar: devices that duplicate the functionality of an existing object (a laptop/netbook vs a smartphone) using a radically different user interface.

        And just as I felt "Yeah, but the iPad's going to feel like crap the moment someone actually tries to do any serious writing or whatever on it", I felt "Yeah, Google Glasses is going to be a hell of a lot less interesting when it's being used in a cubicle at work for seven and a half hours a day, rather than when I skydive out of a plane and quickly take a picture and share it with seven friends using Google+"

        The iPad comparison does seem apt. It appears, at any rate, to be a crappy way of doing the things it's advertised as being for compared to the existing tools for the job, but it may be slick enough, and its UI friendly enough, that it doesn't matter what it appears to be.

    • This is gonna be like when we all scoffed about the iPad's potential market, isn't it?

      We also scoffed at the Segway. Oh wait.

  • by DavidinAla ( 639952 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:28PM (#43426357)
    There will be a few real-world uses for Glass that are positive and cost-effective. For the vast majority, this device is a non-starter at any price, IMO. If you want to walk around pretending you're in a sci-fi movie, yeah, it's probably great if you're a 14-year-old, but most people aren't going to have a use for this AND they're not going to want to be seen wearing it AND it's not going to be socially acceptable. Once again, this is technology desperately in search of a problem to solve to justify its existence.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      I am am far from 14. \
      I an looking forward to getting one of these.
      One enough people have them they become socially acceptable.
      I don't mind being seen wearing one.

      And I can think of a dozen good practical applications for it for the day to day wearer.

      You got nothing.

      • I still look at people oddly when they talk on a blue-tooth headset, because it looks like they're talking to themselves. A lot of women I know won't even wear reading glasses because they don't like the way they look, even though they spent $700 on the designer frames. The conformity factor is quite high for most people.
    • I work Helldesk. I can see a use for a display like that: Display alerts of network status and pending tickets. Now technicians can be much faster in their response time. The same thing would work for, say, shelf-stackers or cleaners in a store: Have it bring up alerts telling them what needs stocking in real time. A considerable boost in worker efficiency, which in turn means fewer workers. If the store can lay off just one employee, the savings will easily pay for giving the rest google glass and having a

  • I mean, it was just looking for stuff. How could that be valuable?

  • by Uninvited Guest ( 237316 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:29PM (#43426367)
    Google Glass doesn't just present information; it can record, too. And if you record every little thing you see, it's possible to review and discover small, but critically important events later. For example, one of my college instructors has a child with autism. Video from his child's second birthday party helped make the diagnosis, but more and earlier footage would have helped diagnose it sooner. If my instructor had been wearing and recording with Google Glass every time he saw or watched his child, he would have had a wealth of material for evaluation and diagnosis.
    • by Skewray ( 896393 )

      Google Glass doesn't just present information; it can record, too. And if you record every little thing you see, it's possible to review and discover small, but critically important events later.....

      Haven't you noticed that this is half of what makes Google Glass so horrifying?

    • Oh, that's going to be a legal minefield. You've obviously got all the fun of state laws on recording conversations, for a start - do you need to have everyone you talk to agree to be recorded? Then there is the possibility of the records being used in legal proceedings against you - not just run-ins with the government, but civil cases too. Child custody, for example: If you and your ex lived together with these things for a year raising a child, you'll both have a rich library of footage that could be edi

  • Golf (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HoboCop ( 987492 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:29PM (#43426371)

    I could see that thing being awesome for golf... they already do GPS through smart phones.. if it can tell you how far away an object is in your field of vision, pretty darn spiffy.. show you a trail where your ball went, display your swing trajectory in your field of view for analysis... lots of cool things. Plus golfers will spend that kind of money.

  • If so, I would want these for skiing, running, biking & so on. Otherwise, I would just pull out the phone to look at it. BTW, I am not a 24/7 phone junkie at all. But for example when skiing with family & friends, texting and calling is a big pain, but a heads-up display would be perfect.
    • I wanted to add a question - does anyone know how well these work for people with presbyopia?
  • Google Glass is for:
    -- tracking, nonstop, of every place you go (and if you're visit the bathroom, every place you go to go) and how long you stay there (hmm, in the bathroom that could tell them if you're going #1 or #2, eh? or will they just turn on the hidden microphone to listen for the tinkle-splash noises to figure that out?)
    -- your random path (how fidgety you are when you are certain places, like do you stay put in ladies' wear, then swing by shoes in the deparment store before heading over to
    • Google Glass is for: -- tracking, nonstop

      No that is what your phone is for. This may allow them to track people without phones using the camera. But people without phones have no money(or cheap) and are not worth tracking.

  • IDK (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WillgasM ( 1646719 )
    IDK, what's your computer monitor good for?
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:37PM (#43426459) Journal

    Given to put this politely... 'strongly habituated'... cellphone-checking among a large number of people, I'd say that the closest analogy would probably be selling infusion pumps to heroin junkies.

    By making 'pulling out your phone and compulsively checking it all the goddamn time, even when in company' entirely seamless and automatic, Glass allows you to indulge your vices even further, while exhibiting the formerly required movements much less often...

    I thought Sergei's(deeply weird) comments about being 'emasculated' by his phone were actually sort of telling with regards to the strange contradiction underlying the 'Glass' concept.

    So, Sergei comes to the realization that damn do I spend a lot of my life, even when I'm ostensibly doing other things, basically poking at the little colored lights that live inside my cellphone, what am I doing? However, instead of adopting the "Hmm, maybe I should try doing less of that" approach, he goes for the "I know, I'll build a system where I no longer find myself clutching my cellphone alarmingly frequently; because it's hovering in front of my eye all the time!".

    • For all the privacy fear-mongering, Google-is-a-big-scary-company-and-therefore-evil vibe, and disdain for dorkiness, this is probably the first bit of critisism that I actually understand.

      The smartphone zombies are getting to be a problem and I'm not sure society is ready for people to be even further removed in their day-to-day life. On the plus side, I know the battery life on this thing isn't going to let them wander that much so they'll probably gravitate to charging stations and/or heroin dens.

      On the

  • Is the reality of technology that is truly transformational that you can't define what it's for ... the smartphone is transformational tech but nobody realized that when it was first created, it was just a phone that could save your contact list and run a few games to kill time. so nobody asked if it was being over hyped it just got sold as a phone with additional features. Nobody asked what graphene is for, another transformational tech advance that is finding dozens of uses that it's creators never envi
    • Not so. Dumb mobile phones were obvious to everyone from the start. Everyone had experience of landlines and could imagine the same, but without a wire to tether it. Smartphones came quite a while after PDAs, so it was perfectly obvious that smartphones were a mix of PDAs and mobile phones. Applications were obvious.

      Google glass is a different category. You'd do better to compare it with the Segway.

      And it's not a HUD. HUDs display in your field of vision. This is a display out of the normal field of vision.

  • It's so people in social situations and even strangers can instantly identify assholes by the little light on their glasses which shows they're more interested in their email or augmented naked boobie apps than their physical surroundings.
    • Facial recognition software can pull up names from the library of tagged images in social networks, never forget who that person is or where you met them again.
    • Chuckle uncontrollably for seemingly no reason at all to those around you as friends send you the latest funny pic they've discovered.
    • While riding through town (as a passenger I hope) you can see the sales shop owners have posted on their Google Earth coupon layer. Could you do that with a phone? Yes, but you won't stare constantly through th
  • While shopping it would be kinda of clever while looking at product numbers if it showed me competing prices on amazon/walmart/etc. Or when I'm at the library it would read the ISBN and display other titles by the author... or when travelling abroad it could offer a translation of items on a menu.
  • by Haxagon ( 2454432 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:44PM (#43426573)

    This is absolute bullshit. If anyone who approved this fucking article knew what they were talking about, they would know that Google held a Glass developer conference wherein they explain the capabilities of Glass, guidelines, and API abilities.

    Source: []

    Fucking idiots. The entire Mirror API is explained in that video. Developers(or anyone) who have done a simple Google search know how the hell to develop for Glass right now, why doesn't the author of this /. post?

  • Instructions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meta-monkey ( 321000 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:45PM (#43426585) Journal

    As a DIY kinda guy who does his own auto maintenance, fixes stuff around his house, cooks, assembles toys for his kid, etc, the immediate thing that would absolutely make me buy one of these is just the ability to present instructions in front of my face without me having to look away from what I'm doing.

    How many times have I been looking at my engine and gotten lost thinking, "Wait, was that bolt on the left side or the right side?" and had to stop and reach for the manual or the instructions I had loaded up on my tablet. Or been holding three pieces of baby furniture together with one hand while rummaging through my tool belt to get the right screws and then realized "crap, does this part take the long screw or the medium long screw?" and had to put the whole thing back down to reach for the instructions. If I had a hands-free display showing me the instructions it would be way easier.

    And the instructions don't even need to be digitized already and downloaded from the manufacturer's website. Glass has a camera, so before I get started, look at the instructions and snap a few high-res pics.

    Eventually, if such devices penetrate the market there might be a reason to use those QR codes. Companies could put out "Glass Enabled Instructions" where each part has a small code on it, so when you get to "Insert Rod A into Flange B" the instructions app would scan your visual field for the correct marker code on Rod A and give you a thumbs up. Which gives you all kinds of other applications for general education and training.

    Also, whenever I'm taking something apart, I find myself grabbing my phone to snap pictures during the disassembly, so when it comes time to stick all the color-coded but otherwise unmarked wires back into the posts on the PCB I have a quick reference for what it looked like when I started. With Glass, fuck, not only could I take stills without rummaging for my phone, I could just record a video of the whole process and then scrub back through it if I was unsure of how anything fit together during reassembly.

    Yeah, I'll buy one just for that.

    • I too would love that but the problem is it would require a terrific amount of data entry and modeling for a small return. At best we'll end up with Ikea instructions and most stuff will still include poorly translated Chinese.

  • I bet every real estate agent in the world would like one of these hooked up to a database of houses for sale, so they could instantly scan all the relevant information.

    Is a smartphone with GPS not able to do any of this? How would Google Glass be anymore accurate than a GPS to be able to overlay the information properly as opposed to an "AR" app on a phone?

    Maybe it could be useful for some things, especially games, but even in that situation, not having a HUD or anything distracting on the screen is seen as a benefit, so why would you want it IRL? Maybe it could be arranged into something more useful to you personally such as widgets on a desktop, but I can whip out my

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:48PM (#43426629)
    This device is a culmination of everything internet stands for and a first attempt to have always-on interface directly with our sensory inputs.

    It will finally allow us to browse porn and watch cat videos everywhere we go, 24/7.
  • Once this sort of thing is good enough then augmented reality will be the killer app.

    Imagine driving in your car with the GPS route you need to take overlaid onto the actual road, or repairing your car/computer/whatever with instructions pointing to each part to remove/replace in sequence along with tips on how to properly do it. Imagine meeting people and seeing their name and a brief biography floating in between you. Virtual geo-tagging left at physical landmarks by previous people. Heck, I could see

  • by DeathToBill ( 601486 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:51PM (#43426675) Journal

    And investors not understanding what they are investing in is news because... why again?

    Have you not followed the last five years?

  • Oh dear God (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman ( 158191 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:53PM (#43426721) Homepage Journal

    I don't know what the future holds for Google Glass, but I know one thing for sure: Marc Andreessen should not be bald. [] I'm pretty sure I saw him in a movie with Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain twenty years ago...

  • Healthcare! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZaphDingbat ( 451843 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @04:55PM (#43426761)

    Good grief, people! Healthcare!

    "Glass, call the RT." "This is the RT. Can I help you?" "Can you have a look at this man's breathing? We're not sure what's going on..."

  • I want it to list possible responses during conversations. For example:

    - Yes/No

    - Or what?

    - Go away

    - Please come back later

    - Fuck you, asshole

    - Fuck you

  • The reaction to Google Glass reminds me of the first tablet push over 10 years ago. The so-called experts dismissed it as pointless. They couldn't see beyond the current technological limitations and appreciate the massive potential in the technology.

    Sure, those tablets had limitations. The resistive touch screen left a lot to be desired and Windows XP wasn't really tablet friendly. But the first time, years before the iPad came along, Sony tablet in hand as I sat on a subway in Asia, browsing the web on Wi

  • Of course this is a hype. A well-crafted hype by Google Marketing ( TM ). I currently work for a logistics company where two or three motivated students developed exactly that: a pair of glasses with which one can walk through a warehouse and pick orders, from info displayed before your eyes. The things also allow you to log in to our software, and to look up where exactly you are in the warehouse. No hype needed.
  • For driving, it's the ultimate heads-up display: anything that can be displayed on a screen can be displayed overlaid on your actual field of view without you having to take your eyes off the road. Vehicle speed, a compass, GPS navigation indications. Even an actual map so you can see a bird's-eye view of the next few blocks worth of street. One thing I can see is integrating a couple of cameras into the system to give real-time speed or closure-rate readouts on surrounding cars or warnings of cars coming u

  • In the anime series Dennou Coil in which kids adapted to such glasses far more easily than the adults, people had virtual pets. Should be easy enough to re-release a modernized Tamagatchi app for this thing. (Or even better, have a flashing light remind you it's time to water your plants and walk your dog.)
  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:08PM (#43426985)

    I bet every real estate agent in the world would like one of these hooked up to a database of houses for sale, so they could instantly scan all the relevant information.

    ... is to keep your eyes focused on the prospect.

    He is the most important thing in your life right now; don't let him catch you drifting off into Lah-Lah land.

    The glasses are a distraction. Ditch them.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @05:59PM (#43427603)

    1. Will these glasses display only what I want them to display?
    2. Will the sensors of these glasses only record what I want them to record?
    3. Will the data outputs only transmit the data that I want them to forward, and only to the devices, networks or other targets that I specify?
    3. Will the specifications be open enough to develop a driver for whatever appliance I want them to interface with?

    A "no" to either of this question will mean a "no thank you" (put the comma where you prefer it) from me.

  • by thereitis ( 2355426 ) on Thursday April 11, 2013 @06:10PM (#43427711) Journal
    I'm interested in knowing more about the long term health effects of wearing Google Glass. Apparently binocular rivalry [] may be of concern.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.