Thursday, 23 May 2013

Google Glass, Surfing, and Marketing

Since Google Glass was released, it immediately sparked big debate whether Google glass is the next big player in digital changes or a privacy aggressor. Having a computer basically linked with your mind is a geek’s dream. With this, Google’s device has stridden further than any other. I assume Glass would be very welcome within certain professionals like engineers, doctors, scientists and, of course movie makers. As for layfolk usage, I guess, very few people do want to be into a computer 24/7.

But the fact that someone can take a picture of me without permission make me think whether Google Glass is changing our life in a positive way. Can imagine how it would be awful talking with someone with Glass that could be doing who knows what. Whether it taking photos of me, or capturing my social accounts by using my identity? From this, it will become a big ethical challenge once Glass is available not only for professional usage.

Google Glass is still in its early stages and there are still lots of bugs reported by early adapters in terms of its functionality. However, being very enthusiastic in terms of all things digital, I would definitely like to try Glass in any way. It looks so futuristic, like it was drawn from the Wachowski brother's movie, "The Matrix".

Fortunately, a friend of mine has already tested Google Glass. Vasily Gatov is a respectable Russian expert in the global media market, and was one of the lucky few who Google introduced its new device to. I've asked Vasily to answer a few questions to find out what Google Glass is all about.

Q So, how did it happen that you tried it?
I was at Google Campus in Mountain View, with an educational research purposes, and, thanks to the googlers who invited us, we were given a chance to try the Glass. A demonstration was about one hour long; we were able to put the device on our heads, try the software and ergonomics. The presenter also gave us an overview of the use cases and his personal experience (he was using Glass for some months).

Coleman Rusnock, the googler who introduced Glass

Q What are the main features and functionality?
Actually, I don't feel it's a practical device yet. Glass is a massive research project that establishes new frontier in the gadget design, gadget capacity to communicate and to be "smart". It's also a research project that studies those who use Glass and establish its place in the world of the geeks. Speaking about the functions that are available now: voice command system that works quite well with an international English (both words and simple queries like "show me the way to the hotel I have booked"); great camera that does both stills and video (both 1080i). Some standard Android/ChromeOS features like Google Maps.

Q How cool is it in terms of design?
It is cool but very technological. Imagine that someone took glasses out and embedded a small (7 mm cube over your right eye). And there's nothing on the left one. The cube projects a screen that feels like a LARGE computer screen just above your line of sight. Due to the specifics of the projector, Glass emits a bit of pink light to the right of your eyes. Also it feels strange but the Glass is very well balanced - although the computerised right side of the device is big and has a certain weight, you don't feel that it presses your ear or nose.

Q In terms of marketing, from your point of view, who will be the potential customer?
Today? Mad geeks and developers who should create an application ecosystem for Glass. Again - the device is a research it is not a commercial product, and much has to be done to put it on the market. But, featuring, one can see it as a professional tool for those who need a lot of data all the time (brokers, air controllers, traffic police and SWAT squads), as well as people whose life is documenting the reality - journalists, perfectly.

Q How does Google describe its target audience?
Not yet is there an audience. The Glass is only available for developers now and this is just a beginning of product design.

Q Can’t avoid this question; do you think I can surf with Google glass?
Yes, and the footage will be amazing, if Google dares the waterproof version or Chinese manufacturers will create some kind of water protection to it.

Elena Sveshnikova
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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