I’ve been using Google Glass for a couple of months now and wanted to share my experiences with the automotive community. My hope is to shed some light on where this segment is heading and what our industry can prepare for in the near term.
Google Glass is currently the most popular example of the future of wearable technology. There are plenty of helpful and practical wearable technology solutions currently available. The most popular example falls within the Quantified Self category, this includes health tracking tools such as the Nike Fuel band.
The range of solutions continues to expand as smart watches by Samsung have already been released (Galaxy Gear) Apple and Google are rumored to enter this space with their own solutions as well. There are also other competitors trying to introduce their own version of Google Glass. Many of the competitors are trying to position themselves differently claiming other uses for athletics or specific industries leveraging 3D augmented reality.
- Searching Google (via voice search)
- Taking a picture
- Recording a video
- Getting directions to…
- Sending a message to…
- Making a call to…
- Make a video call to…
- Taking a note
- Listening to & identifying music
- Start a round of golf
All of these actions are initiated with a simple voice command: “ok glass.” Additional controls are based on gesture movements from your head (slight up & down scrolling) and your right hand on the side-bar (tap, swipe down, swipe forward & swipe backward) Once a picture or a video is taken, the content can be shared to your social channels via the apps you’ve installed to your Glass. For example, I can share pictures and video to my G+ profile and I can even share to a specific circle; updates can also be shared to Facebook and Twitter. An independent 3rd party app, FullScreen Beam, lets you push your Glass videos directly to YouTube. There are currently 25+ Glass apps available in the MyGlass control panel.
Additional features and information that are available: (Much of which is powered by your Google Now activity)
- Time & date functions
- Stock prices
- Local weather & traffic info
- Airplane flight info
- Product shipping tracking info
- Birthday announcements
- Local attractions/places you may be interested in visiting
I enjoy using google Glass as a notification and consumption hub. I read/respond to my email, check social mentions and watch news clips. Taking pictures and recording video has been fun and convenient. I’m a news junkie and this helps deliver what I want to see in real-time – without having to go dig it up on my laptop or phone. Being alerted to breaking news and reading the top content within my Feedly subscriptions is very helpful.
Wearing them around friends can be awkward. Honestly, they’re odd and most people either don’t know what they are or what they can do. Their first question is usually “Are you recording me?” Ironically, while everyone may think Google Glass is goofy, they’re very eager to try them out. While I haven’t had a chance to skydive or ride a roller coaster with them on yet, I did record a vehicle test drive, shoot some fun pictures at a birthday party and use them during a panel at the JD Power Internet Roundtable.
The rest of my activity is based around getting familiar with the usability, the “card” environment in which the content is displayed and how the apps we’re familiar with today can work within this platform. Without getting too deep into my activity just yet, there is a huge opportunity for hands-free data collection and content creation for automotive dealerships. The quality of apps being created should also improve now that the Google GDK is available.
I can see where future versions will create a slimmer form and integrate within a typical prescription lens frame. Current eye glass wearers are SOL as this is extremely hard to use if your eyesight is bad. Google has stated next generation models will include prescription lens solutions fitting neatly within Warby Parker frames.
I recommend if a dealership has the opportunity to grab a pair of Google Glass they do so right away for a couple of reasons:
- Dealerships can use Google Glass to create an endless library of unique content for their websites and social channels. Employee & customer pictures, dealership video tours and especially vehicle walk around videos or even better, test drive videos to include in your email responses.
- Dealerships must understand how search behavior is going to change. This offers a very simple glance at how conversational search queries can work and what the results look like. This is one of the items I’ve been most excited about as it helps paint the picture of the Semantic Web and how the content can be improved to answer possible questions. (EX: Where can I buy a 1 owner Chevy Silverado in Rochester?) Today’s results are not specific enough. The closest result for that search phrase was for a truck in Colorado on AutoTrader. Watch this trend closely – it’s all about context.
Dealerships need to wrap their head around the changes in consumer device behavior and the opportunities available with regards to push notifications. Wearable technology is not a crazy concept. This is a real thing that will ultimately create a multi-billion dollar product segment consisting of 50 million+ watches and glass-style units being used within just a couple of years.
Have you tried Google Glass? What are your thoughts on the wearable technology movement?