Google Glass eyeing nonprofits to discover new use cases

Google Glass eyeing nonprofits to discover new use cases

Summary: Did you know that Google Glass could be used to monitor rhinos? Yes, that is happening.

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While many people like to focus the negative commentary surrounding Google Glass, from the creepy factor to getting users tossed out of bars, the Internet giant is hoping to do some good with the computerized frames.

In honor of Earth Day, the Mountain View, Calif.-based corporation is launching a contest that should drum up some new use cases for Glass -- notably in the nonprofit sector.

Highlighting the deployment of Glass and Glassware apps from the Arctic to the Amazon by the World Wildlife Fund as just one example, Google plans to award five U.S.-based nonprofits each with a Glass unit, a trip to a Google office for training, a $25,000 grant, and additional support from Google developers.

Here's one colorful example for Glass naysayers suggesting the wearable tech doesn't do anything original yet. Jacquelline Fuller, director of the tech company's charitable arm Google.org, noted in a blog post on Tuesday that Glass is even being used for monitoring and collecting data about rhinos:

Rhino monitoring can be a slow process, especially in habitats with tricky terrain, but data collection is crucial for making the right conservation decisions. Most parts of Chitwan National Park are inaccessible to vehicles, so Sabita and her team ride in on elephants, and have been collecting health and habitat data using pencil and paper.

Now custom-built Glassware (the Glass version of apps) called Field Notes can help Sabita do her work hands-free instead of gathering data in a notebook. That’s helpful for both accuracy and safety when you’re on an elephant.

Interested organizations can submit ideas between now and 11:59 PDT on May 20, 2014.

Google's buzzworthy (and sometimes controversial) digital headset has been making waves again lately.

Last week, even though a consumer version isn't supposed to hit the market until later this year, Google opened up the e-commerce flood gates to the public for one day only on Tuesday, April 15.

Conveniently also falling on Tax Day, virtually anyone (in the United States) could apply to join the Google Glass Explorer Program as well as throw down $1,500 of their hard-earned cash for a prototype of his or her own. Without revealing sales figures, Google later boasted that the Gilt-like flash sale was a success.

Glass also made a huge step forward in preparing for a mass market launch with added support for the Apple iPhone as well as a booster shot for the companion Android app.

For a closer look at how Google Glass is being used by the World Wildlife Fund, check out the promo clip below:

Topics: Mobility, Android, Emerging Tech, Google, Start-Ups

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5 comments
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  • What's Happening?

    Well... Like Chromebook, 'Glass' has simply no reason to exist...some perverts may like it...
    Owl:Net
    • Unimaginative people

      I'm surprised at how unimaginative people are regarding Google Glass. I'm not talking about a lack of ideas of how to use it, I'm talking about all the people who say Glass is useless and should not exist.

      Just draw a parallel to the development of the smartphone. MS probably had the closest thing to a smartphone without actually being able to be called a smartphone, with slide-out keyboards and full-sized touchscreens. Apple came along and said "lets do it this way", then Android came along and said "nice try, but here's how it's really done". It took 3 major generations of technology to get the smartphone right. With Glass (or "augmented reality" to take the branding out of it), we're only on the first generation... maybe Google will be the first to get it right, maybe they won't... but we can't have a second or third generation without the first.

      Dismissing Glass as a failure now would be like Edison giving up when his very first light bulb prototype failed. See it for what it is: a step. It's not a final product, but just a step toward something awesome.
      AnomalyTea
      • A very expensive, elitist, restricted and annoying first step...

        I can't help thinking it could have been done better....
        TheWerewolf
  • translation:

    this gimmick is useless so help us find a use for what is bound to be the biggest flop of this decade.
    neonspark
  • Given the price..

    Which 'non-profit' can afford them? :)
    TheWerewolf