Exploring Google Glass: A non-nerd's guide (and wish list)

Summary:Does Glass have any appeal or potential for the average consumer? Possibly...but it won't be easy for Google to get there.


Here's my wish list and brainstorm for potential uses with Glass and more wearable tech:

  • Fitness: I'm an avid runner, and I start each day with a long run. There must be some way that Glass can get involved here. The bridge and shell holding Glass together is made of titanium, so it's fairly sturdy and stays on my face without much of a problem. If cheap plastic sunglasses can sit firmly on my face for a 12-mile run, I think Glass shouldn't have a problem either. Wearable tech is also becoming a common accessory for runners and other fitness enthusiasts, indoors and outdoors. This ranges from the iPod shuffle to BodyMedia armbands. Nike has its own popular line of GPS-enabled wristbands and smartphone apps. Taken altogether, an app that tracks distance, calories burned, and more seems like a no-brainer for Glass.
  • Checking in: Not everyone is a big fan of mobile apps that automatically do things for users, such as checking them in at various locations. But if an opt-in feature is available, I'd love to be able to check in on Foursquare and Facebook on Glass. If you can share photos and videos to Google+ and Path, why not get more social networking clients and features involved as soon as possible?
  • Brick-and-mortar commerce: If consumers are going to start wearing Glass (or other future connected frames), it would make a lot of sense to take them shopping. Retailers are already brainstorming ways of tapping into smartphones and tablets through geo-location features and personalized offers to bring in more customers. Connected glasses should be no different. A Pinterest app could be amazing using Glass if users could take a photo of a product and save it to a Pinterest board for future reference. Another potential use case is Amazon's Price Check barcode scanning app. Similar to the smartphone version, Glass wearers could just match up the display with the barcode for instant comparison (and price savings).
  • Twitter: Contrary to the original purpose of this guide, sometimes you just can't reach to your phone to Tweet something hilarious or thought-provoking that you just heard. Admittedly, that's about the nerdiest problem ever. Nevertheless, why not take advantage of the voice recording potential for the video camera and use it for voice recognition purposes? Aside from being able to Tweet without typing, you could take notes (maybe it will get more users onboard with Google Keep -- if not Evernote...) or post status updates. (There's also GlassTweet, an unofficial app for Glass already making waves.)

This is just a rough sketch of what Glass could do if we give it more time. Even with the bare minimum features Glass already sports, there really could be room for a new market of wearable tech for the general public.

If anyone can come up with more innovative ideas for what something like this could do, it's Google.

The question is how long can the consumer world remain patient for the Internet giant to meet these demands and justify the price tag.

Photos: James Martin, CNET

Topics: Mobility, Google, Hardware, Smartphones


Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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