The Google Glass project, in the form of glasses, does not appeal to me just yet. Wearing dorky-looking glasses everywhere is not for me at this stage. I have no doubt, that in a few years, Google Glass(es) will be indistinguishable from regular specs and will then become more attractive as a product to consumers.
However, there may be some more directly accessible markets for Glass, than just “glasses”. The intersections between Glass displays, voice inputs (such as Siri or Google Voice) as well as audio outputs provide fertile ground for interaction and computing development.
Windscreens - Millions of people commute everyday around the world. The windscreen is, for many people, their second most used screen. Trains, planes and automobiles could all benefit from having contextual and relevant heads-up displays with interactive data for the vehicle drivers. Google Glass + Maps + Voice most notably. Motorsports are hugely popular and would be a primary target for this technology, as well as a powerful tool to widely market the product.
(Note: I am not suggesting we watch videos and play games on these screens. But rather, that mapping, stats and dashboard displays get integrated into the windscreen.)
Goggles - Snowboard/ski goggles. Scuba goggles. Motorcycle goggles/helmets, and so forth. The built in cameras and heads up display possibilities for goggles like this are plentiful. It stands to reason that sporting activities, which often make use of goggles of various kinds, provide a solid and willing market for this technology. More so, at this stage, than the general consumer market. The success of the GoPro range of cameras show that addressing the sporting market directly is a viable route.
Medical - Doctors might be another market ripe for a glasses-based interactive model. Heads up displays with voice controls might prove to be very useful for surgeons and doctors as they would be able to access relevant information as it is needed without stopping their current activity. The glasses could also be used to record photographic/video proof and audio observations for medical records.
Keyboard and mouse interaction provided the backbone for computing interactions for years. Touchscreens, have been hugely disruptive, and are now the new interactive model of choice. As such, it stands to reason that the next wave of disruption will again be on the back of a new interaction model. Having a screen, that is not necessarily a computer screen, with voice controls provides space for development and expansion of computing into non-traditional computing markets such as directly addressing the sporting market. The fact that glass + voice allows, a hands-free model, which neither keyboard/mouse or touch can give, provides potential.
With sports becoming increasingly stats obsessed, inherently visual, live and watched primarily through video. This is an opportunity for Google to move into this space. In both the broadcast sense, as it would bring the viewer into the player’s world. It would provide the player, or competitor with information they have not previously had access to. Wearable computing has its most practical and marketable application in sport along with the recording, broadcasting and statistical wealth it provides. Google has shown that mapping, stats, search and video are some of it’s primary strengths. Glass provides direct access to a willing market that is currently not occupied by competitors of Google’s stature and seemingly aligns with their strengths. Sports is also the darling of advertising, which is Google’s primary business model.
One thing though - please, no ads while I am driving or snowboarding!