Google Glass killer features

I have very little interest in Google Glass, other than wanting to avoid anyone who’s actually wearing them, but what applications and use cases would actually get me excited to use them?

Some of these ideas are only a decent software developer away from being a reality, whilst some are flights of fancy.  But aren’t flights of fancy fun?

Contacts

I have a terrible memory. I’m also terrible with faces.  I’d love Google Glass to prompt me with the name of the person with which I’m talking.  Even better, if I could add notes to that person’s contact card that can also be displayed.

The way I think of this is similar to the assistant, Gary Walsh (played by Tony Hale – I can’t wait for the new Arrested Development) in VEEP.  The Vice President is meeting someone and he gently, sometimes amusingly, whispers some key details in her ear.

It would remove the social awkwardness I often feel in those seconds when I’m trying to figure out whether I’ve met the person before, and if I have, where I know them from and what I know about them.  It could also be a little awkward, and you’d have to keep your contacts up to date.  To that end, why not pull information in from people’s social media profiles?

Bob Rogers.  Enjoys fishing, has three children. You last met him at his birthday party in June 2012. His last Facebook update was “These pretzels are making me thirsty”

Where did I last see…?

I’ve got a terrible memory.  Stop me if you’ve heard that before.  I’m constantly misplacing things.  I would buy a pair of Google Glass in a second if I could ask it where I left my keys.  This is fairly sophisticated, as it would need to understand not just what keys are and what they look like, but also specifically what my keys look like.  And furthermore, it would need to have a complete, geo tagged history of everything I’ve seen in my recent past that it could instantly query looking for matching items.  But wow would it be great.  And if it’s got all that information stored and searchable, I’d love access to it to.  You could really test whether the Baader-Meinhoff effect is real.

Replay

So what did I do last night? Why not get Google Glass to summarise it for me? Who did I meet? Where did I meet them? What did we discuss?

What I particularly like about the  potential of this is that you could get Google to automagically log your day and email a summary complete with transcript to you afterwards.  It would be searchable and geo tagged.

If there’s something particularly interesting, you could see a replay of the event streamed to you, again, through Glass.

Active Listening

I have a terrible memory.  I can have a conversation with someone and instantly forget it.  It would be a life saver if something like Glass could actively listen to conversations I have and automatically create reminders and calendar appointments when appropriate.

It could go further than that.  Often when having a conversation, something comes up that requires one or more of the participants to pull out their phone to check something.  Why not just flash those answers up on the Glass display?

Active Watching

Listening to a conversation and parsing what’s said is one thing.  Actively scanning what you’re seeing and overlaying information on top if it is another.  If I’m shopping, why not instantly and automatically overlay online prices for the item I’m holding?  If I’m outside a restaurant, why not warn me that it doesn’t have very good reviews and I should try next door?  The possibilities are endless, and would potentially add a nice revenue stream for Google to exploit.

Privacy

Google Glass knows enough about its own surroundings that it should be possible to infer what it should be doing.  For example, it’s entirely possible that Glass can work out that it’s in a bathroom, or a gym, and disable certain features.  What might be better is for companies and individuals to set up areas in which they don’t want Glass to operate.  These could be geo fenced in a central location, or use specially configured bluetooth or WiFi networks.  How about a badge you can wear that would automatically stop Glass from seeing you?  And if not a badge as it’s rather intrusive, how about configuring your smartphone to tell Glass to ignore you?

Ultimately though, until Glass can be incorporated invisibly in to a pair of ordinary spectacle frames and people can overcome the inherent awkwardness of talking to ones self, Glass is doomed to become a niche product.  And much like the Apple Newton, it’s something that will almost certainly be revisited more successfully in the future.