Google's Project Glass: Pondering business use cases

Google's Project Glass: Pondering business use cases

Summary: I've been skeptical about Google's mission to deliver smart glasses that would enhance your visual reality a good bit with data on the fly. However, it is worth pondering some of the business uses for these newfangled glasses.


Google has outlined a bit more about its Project Glass, an effort to deliver smart glasses that would enhance your visual reality a good bit with data on the fly.

I've been a bit skeptical about this mission of Google's, which incidentally will deliver ads right to your eyeballs. However, it is worth pondering some of the business uses for these newfangled glasses. Here are a few business use cases, some of which could be clearly a stretch.

Tourism: The upside is that Google's goggles could be the hip way to provide guided tours of almost everything. The downside is you'll get plugs and ads from your friendly neighborhood tourist trap.

Shopping and retail: See that jacket you've been craving? With Google's specs you'll be able to customize colors and order from your eyes. Shoppers will love a little virtual reality with the shopping experience. The downside is fairly obvious: Google can track what your eyes are doing and line up ads accordingly (only half kidding).

Local merchant marketing: Holy coupons Batman! It's one thing to walk by a restaurant and get a deal sent to your smartphone. It's quite another deal to get those coupons sent to your specs. The upside and downside here are the same thing really.

Real estate: Real estate agents think QR codes are cool. Just wait until they get their hands on Google glasses. You walk into room of a house you're eyeballing and instantly get the dimensions. You also get redecorating tips. Upside: You're more informed about a house and can better make a buying decision. Downside: You may also be able to call up your credit rating to remind you that you're totally stretching for your McMansion.

Business meetings are swell: If you're like me you barely remember your own name half the time. Google's goggles will allow you to scan your list of contacts---with the help of facial recognition---and then you'll remember that executive's name (or at least pretend to). There is no downside to this except that I'll have to use terms other than "dude," "pal," "chief," and other words used to hide the fact I can't remember your name. Another bonus: You can pretend you're paying attention in that 10th meeting of the day and surf the Web without anyone knowing.

Related: Google's glasses: Who's the idiot that would buy these?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Emerging Tech, Google

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  • You forgot one other Big Business possibility. Education.

    Actually, when one thinks about it, these glasses could replace tablets in an educational environment someday. Although the vision of a classroom filled with little Borgs peering back at the Queen Borg while she conducts her class is just a bit unsettling. Ah, the future. Best to embrace it and not fear it.
    • good point

      I probably forgot a lot of uses so write-ins welcome
      Larry Dignan
      • Military uses maybe?

        I can see a lot of use for something like this (obviously more robust though) paired with something like Friend-or-Foe tags or ways to mark out objectives. It could cut down quite a bit on confusion during combat situations.
      • The military has this already

        incorporated into the Apache, and a few other things.
        Data is displayed on the monical over one eye superimposing the data with what is actually being looked at.
        William Farrel
  • google leaves competition in the dust again

    This is the power of FOSS being embraced by cool chicks and geeks!
    The Linux Geek
    • This is hardware

      So, it's hard to see what FOSS has to do with it. Also, paying a model to wear your prototype can hardly be described as your tech "being embraced by cool chicks."
    • How do you know she is a cool chick?

      in the photo? She could be a serial killer looking to meet up with her next victim.

      Tim Cook
      • That's okay

        I'm quite willing to take my chances. Absolutely. Throw caution and common sense to the wind.
      • She could be...

        cool, a chick, and a serial killer. I don't see them as all mutually exclusive.
  • Golf game

    It could certainly help with my golf game by giving wind reports, distances, club lengths, etc.
    • It could help if the R&A and the USGA Rules Committees allow it.

      As it stands right now, range finder use (whether GPS or Laser) is only allowed in some local tournaments (and not on the professional tours). And forget about swing aids and the like.

      Fussy, cranky old curmudgeons!

      But it would be neat to see hidden hazards or the topographical maps of the greens before hitting to them.
    • It is coming....

      We are developing a Google Glass Golf application @
      David Grieshaber
  • All of those uses will offer good quality only decades away from now

    There are a lot of technical limitations that will not allow such glasses compete with normal mobile devices -- at least this decade.
  • There's no question that Augmented Reality has enormous potential.

    The problem is that Google Glasses or whatever they call it be so full of ads that it will likely be useless for much else. The question also becomes, how much information about you do you [i]really[/i] want to give to Google. Think about it, they can already know what you search for, what's in your email, who you call, and roughly where you go. Do you really want them to have all that [i]plus[/i] know everything you look at?

    Let's not kid ourselves, this product is Google's "Holy Grail" as it ties everything you do into Google's Algorithm allowing them to sell you to advertisers of [i]anything[/i] [b]whenever[/b] you are wearing the glasses.
    • Big Brother?

      Google doesn't do anything it can't exploit for money and they'll exploit these to the hilt.
      Orwell was right, using these from a company that wants to know more about you than you do (and has a better memory) sounds like a bad idea to me.
      I remember the " good old days" when Google was simply a search engine and a fairly good one, not a vast, money making, advertising machine that probably knows more about users than their doctor,wife, and the government combined.
      Imagine going to the toilet wearing 'em, SCARY, who knows what sort of "Ads" would pop up
      As we are still close to April 1st when this info could have been released it could be a king sized hoax but if it is true and the technology is actually up to it then we could be turning into the Borg as one poster hinted.
  • definitely see uses in Tourism industry

    ARGs (augmented reality glasses) are basically the visual replacements of sound recordings, or they may actually complement them if implemented properly. I can envision ARGs being very useful in museums (and lower the cost of building/maintaing exhibits) or other attractions. Retail and real estate usage would make sense to an extent. How about sporting events? No more need of scoreboards and you still can get all of the stats of the player in your glasses. Might be the "tablet-killer" but in the far distant future.
  • Hope the screen can switch sides

    I'm left eye dominant. My right eye has a severe astigmatism that will make this design totally useless to me. Also, you know, some people don't have a right eye at all.

    On top of all that, it's unclear how you wear this thing along with actual glasses.
  • Law enforcement?

    Could conceivably have good application in law enforcement. Data could be transmitted directly to officers in the field - info about a traffic stop, info about a suspect, recording interactions with people. Departments are moving to wearable video recording devices, but that is for recording only. Could be interesting to see how data in the field could be beneficial for officer safety.
    Joe Thornton
    • Law enforcement enforcement

      I'd like to see video glasses that sync up to the cloud become more widespread so officers can be held more accountable for their actions.
  • Can anyone say "Minority Report"...