Friday, December 20, 2013

The best use of your Google Glass could be to give it away

“Journalist Nilay Patel wanted to tell the story of Indiana University shooting guard Victor Oladipo in the moments leading up to the 2013 NBA draft, but he didn’t want to get in the way.” So begins the retelling in the American Journalism Review of how basketball star Oladipo became a first-person experiential journalism trendsetter.

It’s journalism, but it’s also storytelling. And that’s what we do every day at work. We tell stories to share experiences and ideas related to the work we do to reach our goals.

I can envision sharing my Google Glass with someone at work on a typical day or for a special event, to see how the day or event unfolds before his or her eyes. And then, I’d post the video (edited, as appropriate) for people throughout the company. What an extension of what we already know—that people relate to other people as we communication about work. I usually talk about the “potential” of Glass. This, I could do tomorrow. And I just might!

Be sure to watch the story of Oladipo’s experience. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Face to face may not mean side by side

Mentoring newcomers to the strategies and practices of communicating to employee communities—is that something we’re improving now that we have social media and wearable computing all around us? Not me. Not yet.

I’m the person more likely to ask a summer intern, as I’m rushing off to another meeting, to take a stab at Project A or Tactic B while I’m gone, and we’ll talk about it later. I have an acquaintance who does just the opposite. She takes her intern with her to every meeting. Listening and observing a business meeting may not directly add a sample to a student’s communication portfolio and is possibly just confusing to a newbie, but surely it adds business know-how. And I suspect it creates a master-apprentice relationship that benefits both.

Question for the day: What’s the best way to be mentored by someone far away, and can technology actually make it better than in-person coaching?

Photographers and artists have a way to enter that master-apprentice path online now that intrigues me. Take a few minutes to watch the video to see how it works—or just to enjoy the great photography.

I know some of you have been following the lengthy ongoing conversation in the IABC group on LinkedIn over the past couple of weeks. The master of employee communication asked a simple question about “intellectual laziness” in our field. Response has been passionate, disruptive, heartfelt, rowdy, embracing—all positive lessons for people pushing into the master category themselves and those just starting to explore.

Yet, as in all human communication, words sometimes fail us. One person’s deep belief didn’t seem relevant in another person’s workplace as we tried using words to describe our situations. Conversation spiraled in a confusing direction. The truth is, we come at discussions like this one from different worlds with different daily experiences even though we have similar interests and skills in business communication. In this instance, what qualified as intellectual laziness and what represented the right curiosity and research? That answer isn’t the point of this commentary. The point is to ponder whether multi-sensory exchanges of knowledge and insight might improve how we learn from masters, as in the mastery video. And also, can contextual exchanges that are part of wearable computing help make our points?

Just as the telegraph made the world smaller and television helped us share a culture, wearable computing may be a turning point in how we learn to better communicate at work by sitting side by side, so to speak, in the meeting room with a master far away. Think it could happen? If not, just watch.

* * * * *

Want Google Glass? Give someone or yourself the adventure of testing Google Glass. I have a couple of invites to become a Google Glass Explorer. Let me know by Dec. 20, 2014, why you want to be part of the beta testing and, in particular, how you would explore using Glass at work. The rules are set by Google, not me, and they include your having to purchase Glass at $1,500 plus tax and shipping. (I don’t work for Google or get any remuneration at any time.) Also, you must be a US resident, at least 18 years old, and provide a US shipping address or pick up Glass at a Google location in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Using Google Glass to measure internal communications in the age of context

By guest blogger Katie Delahaye Paine. Katie, a highly regarded communication measurement expert, blogs regularly at She recently had an opportunity to try Google Glass and said “it took about 30 seconds using Google Glass to really grok what they were talking about—in short, a world where companies, the government, your computing device and the objects around you will ‘know’ you better than you know yourself.”

With luck and Glass, scenarios like the following will never happen again: Years ago, when corporate video was all the rage, a well-known research laboratory approached me to measure the success of its internal communications. My contact was the person who was running the corporate video program at the time and the real reason for the research was to justify its cost. We proposed an employee survey to understand where they got information, what they found most useful, and what communications mechanism they preferred. We also asked the usual employee engagement questions like, how committed you are to the organization? do you feel this is an organization you can trust? And do you trust the information you are receiving?

Just as we were fielding the survey, the company announced that it was being restructured and put up for sale, so naturally we were worried about our findings. The client decided to forge ahead and when the results were in, they were surprisingly positive. They felt that, under the circumstances, the company was doing as good a job as they could in keeping them informed. However, when we got into the specifics of which types of communications were most effective, it turns out that they HATED the video program. Naturally the client was upset, so we dug into the data together.

As it turns out the most negative responses came from one department, which was comprised primarily of very highly advanced programmers. The fact that they were not happy was obviously a big deal. I reported my results to the client who responded: “Oh them. Those guys are such nerds. They are so focused on their work and their computer screens that they actually hooked up a ‘coffee cam,’ because god forbid they should ever get up from their desks for a cup of coffee and find that the pot was empty. Instead they checked the coffee cam and only left their desks when they saw there was coffee there. “

I pointed out that it was hardly surprising, if they were that reluctant to leave their desk, that they would enjoy being forced to walk all the way to the conference room to watch a video, even if it was just a 3 minute walk.

I see Google Glass as the ultimate answer to that problem.

Essentially with Glass, those programmers would carry their computers with them wherever they go so they will get information wherever they are, and whenever they want it. And, when employees can chose the time and form of message delivery, employee communications teams will know immediately which messages of all the myriad ones they receive, they actually pay attention to, and which they ignore. With metrics like that, all decisions will be based on data not on the internal political clout of the requestor.

Imagine a world without “how useful do you find the newsletter” surveys. No more relying on employees reluctantly filling out questionnaires about what they recall or feel. That world will be populated with communications teams who will be able to measure what is most effective at engaging employees and tailor delivery and content accordingly.

But that’s just the first step. Ultimately, however, it’s not about whether employees got your message. It’s about whether that message yielded any benefit. The beauty of measurement in the age of context is that you’ll be able to analyze how employees work, rank them from most to least efficient or effective at any particular task, and then correlate that data to their message consumption and engagement level.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Augmented reality in my dreams

Google Glass wormed its way into my dreams last night. Or, at least something like Glass—a number counter in my field of vision. In my dream, I was preparing to go out to dinner with my family, even as I was thinking about all the things I had left undone. As one of my thoughts about a particular To-Do task entered my conscious, the counter would visually count up from 0 to 8 then back down to 4. That told me that I didn’t have to do that task for up to eight more days, so I really didn’t need to start thinking about it for four more days. Forget about it for now; go have a good dinner it seemed to be telling me.

Now if only I could stop dreaming about all the things I need to be doing. Let my “spare brain” on a computer chip keep thoughts about my tasks prioritized. In the light of day, it isn’t really such a far stretch to imagine that kind of mind-to-machine power working with wearables listening to us talk about things we're doing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pinpoint necessary data to appear right in front of your eyes

Your pocket isn’t convenient enough and data is too monstrous to scan. Those are two reasons why Google Glass is “inevitable” in the workplace, according to analytics author Chris Taylor, who blogs at Successful Workplace.

It’s only a matter of time before ‘line of sight’ becomes the primary place for everything we care most about,” he writes. “It’s only logical that we’d put what matters most in the place where we can digest and use it immediately…continually in front of our eyes.”

The most immediate example he uses in his blog is in the health care arena, also the topic of a previous Gaze Further blog post.

Besides being visual and hands-free, wearable computing, Taylor points out, meets our expectations of getting information we need or want anywhere, anytime. He says that especially at work, a phone in your pocket isn’t convenient. Powerful analytics provide the capability to deliver what matters most, rather than manually scanning large amounts of information to glean important data.

Those views are through the eyes of a data cruncher: Don’t give me too much information; give me what I need. And, don’t make it so hard for me to get to. That sounds an awful lot like the feedback employee communicators hear: There’s too much information for me to pay attention to. And please deliver it by the channels that appeal to me.

How does it look through the eyes of a digital creative agency? Purple, Rock, Scissors put together a demo about Glass in daily life, including shopping, exercise, entertainment, instructions, and home security—even how to find where you parked your car. This short video answers the question: What can Glass do for you?

What would you want Glass to do for you as you go through your day?
  • You could ask how many employees so far have viewed your morning post on the intranet and receive the count every minute, five minutes, 30 minutes, or whatever you chose.
  • You would get a notification that you’ve just typed “that” instead of “than”—something spell check didn’t catch but Glass can see.
  • You’re on a conference call with half a dozen people from your company’s regional offices. You don’t know them that well, so sometimes it’s hard to distinguish their voices and know who is speaking when. Glass can flash the photo with the name and job role for each individual each time he or she speaks.
  • You could get a notice when someone shares your Yammer or Facebook post on a particular topic, even as you are walking back to the office with coffee in one hand and a donut in the other.
  • Get the camera out of the way. As you interview someone as part of your content creation, go ahead and get photos at the same time while the individual is relaxed and conversational. For that matter, leave the tape recorder behind if you are still using one.
  • Wondering if your favorite user experience analyst is in one of the pods on the collaboration floor? If so, please provide visual instructions through the maze of modules to find her.
  • As you’re making a presentation to your professional association peers and you mention a book title, the author’s name appears in your line of sight just to make sure you remember it.
  • While you’re driving home and wondering if you really need to stop by the dry cleaners, too tired to remember what’s on your calendar for tomorrow, you can ask out loud and get an answer as to whether you need to wear a suit tomorrow because of any high-level meeting.

I’ll be thinking about it over the next few days. You think, too, and share your ideas. What would be totally awesome for Glass to do for you? Glass is in development stage, and Google wants input on ways people would really use it as part of their workday. 

(Reminder: I do not work for Google or receive anything from the company, not even a free T-shirt.)

Friday, October 4, 2013

“Active shooter”: Communicating more than a breaking news statement

“Active shooter.” That’s what an email sent to people on Capitol Hill said, or so the mass media first announced about reported gunfire yesterday. “Active shooting” might have been a better term we know now. “Active shooter” has quickly entered the vernacular as a crazed gunman in a place of business, a school, or a shopping mall. This time, though, shots came from police who, it seems now, may have been appropriately responding to a 2-ton bullet on gasoline-powered wheels—an automobile.

Again as a news consumer, I have read that the second message, “All clear,” flashed on video screens in federal government buildings about an hour later.

Active shooter. All clear. In this instance, those two phrases may have been sufficient communication, because the tragedy didn’t escalate to involve bystanders. But for corporate communicators who practice crisis exercises, perhaps this is a timely opportunity to ask, What if?

What if an active shooter in the workplace threatens the lives of employees? And what if that shooter is going office to office or floor to floor, outside the scope of surveillance cameras? If Google Glass were prevalent in that workplace, in even its current beta format, wearers could capture and feed a visual report to help responding officers assess the situation and secure employees from harm.

In addition, crisis teams could deliver instructions through Glass to people who most need to know what to do next. Notifications, updates, information cards—those are the kinds of terms we use to define succinct messages delivered by Glass. What general, quick messages can we script in advance so they are ready to adapt to a specific situation if needed? What if communication to a Glass wearer could unobtrusively provide instructions in how to respond to an active shooter?

What if we help shape the development of wearable computing to take advantage of built-in sensors to better handle crisis incidents. In the case of a shopping mall shooting, for example, sensors in wearable computers could pinpoint where innocent shoppers are hiding, and whether they are imminently threatened. Officials could give specific directions for taking cover. If the situation allowed escape, a map could appear in peoples' line of sight with arrows pointing the route to safety.

Much Google Glass hype seems to revolve around extreme sports videos and unposed baby smiles. Glass for crisis situations may be gloomy by comparison, but it’s worth thinking about to be well prepared.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Name that tune on Google Glass

Google Glass has a new trick, and it has turned into a game for me—name that tune. It’s simple. Ask Glass to identify the song you are listening to right now.

Yes, Glass can name the tune and artist and display the cover art often in four seconds or less. Sometimes, obscure songs take a few seconds longer, but those are the ones you could never come up with yourself at all. It’s impressive. The technology is Google’s Sound Search, an Android offering that recognizes music playing around you.

After the novelty wears off from asking Glass to listen to the music, what’s left? A deeper appreciation of contextual sensors. Cell phones have taught us that computers we carry around with us at all times can sense our location. Embedded GPS tells us where a photo was taken, which direction to head for a burger, and how to avoid traffic.

Glass will build on that concept with not only the ability to listen but also to see your surroundings from your point of view, knowing exactly where you are. It’s that complete context that will bring us a whole new level of computing power.

Wow. Whoa. That’s a lot to get our heads around, considering how easy it is to wrap Google Glass itself around our heads with a powerful computing device resting at eye level.

Thanks, VentureBeat, for showing Glass at work
Since the point of this blog is to consider how wearable computing like Glass will change the workplace and the way employees communicate in it, it’s an exciting time to just imagine what that might mean. Could Glass hear a conversation with a customer and offer prompts or reminders about a product feature for a salesperson to mention right then? Might Glass recommend someone who could answer a question that two people are discussing? Imagine an audio and visual roadmap that guides you through a cubicle maze, where everything appears the same to you, so you quickly reach the exact spot you will find the person you’re looking for.

Listing possibilities…this could go on all day, and we still wouldn’t think of them all or the long-term, valuable ones, for that matter. We have an early opportunity to start shaping wearable computing uses. Think how can it be developed at your company so that it contributes to the way employees understand company goals and news, work with colleagues toward innovation, and celebrate how the work they do each day contributes to success. Let’s name that tune.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Your company may equip you with Google Glass for your job

Business use for Google Glass—as opposed to personal perspective video of sporting events or your baby’s first steps—is gaining momentum. Google even held an event for interested businesses recently, recognizing that manufacturers like the idea of Glass for inventory programs. Glass could easily read serial numbers or barcodes with the eyeglass camera on an employee’s face, and that data could go directly to a central computer to monitor stock of just about any kind of product.

Hospitals are interested as well, not only to keep track of medicines, but also to aid in on-the-spot training, to send urgent notifications to staff, and for physicians physically present or at a distance to participate in surgery and care. Information, instruction, or notification pops into the field of vision of the Glass wearers, even as their hands are free to continue their work. It’s a new playing field for creative people, who are suggesting and developing apps, called Glassware.

Fidelity Investments has already jumped in. It has developed an app for its customers who wear Glass—granted, a limited group—to monitor the stock market in their field of vision as they go through their day. Do watch the video from Fidelity Labs that previews what it sees in your near future. And then watch it again, paying attention to the voice interactions and Glass notifications. Visually, it’s stunning, revealing to all corporate communication professionals what Glass-type technology can bring to our craft.

For workers always on the go, or hands-on something other than a keyboard, Glass offers completely new employee communication opportunities—especially if companies bring in Glass for other purposes, and employees become used to its features and delivery of content. Tool use does progress. Do you remember email before anyone was doing email newsletters?

Monday, September 9, 2013

3 ways to improve content creation with Google Glass


That’s right. They’re blank—for you to fill in. Haven’t given much thought to how Google Glass can make any difference? Kristin Bassett has.
  1. Expedite research.
  2. Make tasks easier.
  3. Skip unnecessary processes.

Bassett works as a marketing content specialist at a tech startup, and for fun, she is editorial director for  Either place, she’s surrounded by blogs and videos and technology—and now she’s testing Google Glass.

“We’re working to come up with some great plans for how we can utilize and leverage the Google Glass to create new content and expedite our content creation for the marketing department,” she said about her tech startup role.

“Currently, it takes a lot of effort to make videos about what our CEO thinks,” she explained, something marketers and communicators can identify with. Glass may become an effective way to videotape a conversation, as the interviewer/wearer can maintain eye contact with the CEO throughout—one on one, not one in front of an interviewer, a camera operator, and technicians.

Yet it’s not only streamlining CEO interaction that has Bassett thinking. Could Glass help with efforts to get content from people that can be used as blog posts? “We see it being easier to sit down with them and just have them talk to us and just report it, without having to have someone come in and set up video cameras.”

It just might work there, because the company’s CEO is the one who suggested the idea for applying for the #ifihadglass program in the first place. “Our CEO had sent out an email when the Glass Explorer program had launched. He said, hey everyone, I think this is an awesome program. I think everyone should enter. If anyone gets picked, the company will pay for it. You just have to bring it in so everyone can play with it, because we want to see it,” Bassett recalled. And, yes, everyone wants to try it out. “I’m much more popular now at the office,” she joked.

Outside of work, Bassett has used Glass for sending a quick email to friends. She’s also hopeful it will help her develop video blogging—vlogging—for her “for fun” work on

“Right now a lot of our entries are written. Photography and videography just take up so much time normally. Having this Glass on makes it much easier to record videos than it has ever been before. I think that will help us ramp that up,” she said.

Go ahead—tell us the three ways you would want to use Glass for content creation.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

What problem are we trying to solve with Google Glass?

“I’m paid to think deeply,” said Thad Starner, a founder and director of the Contextual Computing Group at Georgia Tech and credited with coining the term “augmented reality.” He thinks deeply at a computer screen mostly, often writing code or programming, and he works hard at controlling his attention.

You might think he would be annoyed by the notifications that pop into his view on Google Glass. In fact, he appreciates them. As a pioneer in wearable computing, he welcomes how it changes the way he can interact with the world without having to keep checking his phone.

Glass offers what he calls micro interactions. He likens it to the dashboard of the car you are driving. You can look down for brief moments without careening off the road.

There are a lot of reasons why he calls this “revolutionary,” but he also astutely notes that we can’t know how Glass is going to be used just yet. “Our perceptions of what you are going to be using it for are probably wrong—until you get to something in your everyday life, actually get to a stage you can experience it and you understand the problem you are trying to solve.”

Does that seem backwards? In a sense, perhaps. But thousands of testers are determining what in their lives need solving and seeing if Glass can do it. And to that end, Gaze Further will continue to explore wearable computing at work, particularly how communication professionals can employ Glass for the benefit of people interacting at work.

Starner thinks one answer to the question, what problem are we trying to solve with Google Glass, lies in reducing the time between your intention to do or see or think something and the actual action. Glass can offer split-second notification. “The time between my first thought of wanting information and having it in my eyeballs,” he said, “is a few seconds.” 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Google Glass might save your life

Health care and emergency medicine are topping the list of ways people hope to improve their work with Google Glass.

Imagine an emergency medical professional arriving on the scene of a terrible car accident. He’s running, lugging equipment, assessing the crisis to get to injured passengers. Without interrupting his standard and precise routine, he’s already sending images to emergency doctors and hospital staff. Based on that sharing of information, he can listen to a physician—located just about anywhere—talk him through any sensitive care procedures appropriate for that moment. The emergency medical professional never has to pick up a camera or put a phone to his ear. His hands are free to save lives. As this is going on, nurses and emergency room staff get notification to prepare for a patient to arrive by ambulance, with a clear understanding of the patient’s condition.

Even for more routine medical care, not a crash scene, doctors are testing ways to improve patient care with Google Glass, and specialized apps are in development for physicians. Doctors capturing images and sharing information? How could that possibly comply with strict HIPAA laws around health information privacy? One physician who used Google Glass during actual surgery got consent first, and then, while wearing Glass, he gave full attention to his patient and the procedure. He proved that live monitoring could be done. “Specifically for surgery, this could allow better intra-operative consultations, surgical mentoring and potential remote medical education, in a very simple way,” the surgeon explained. He did it without showing the patient’s face or revealing personal health information. (And, software developers are tackling the privacy issue to take away that problem in the future).

Forget the ER or OR. How can Glass help a person on the street? An app in development would talk you through CPR if you find yourself in a situation to help someone having a heart attack. The technology of Glass with interactive instruction seems almost too easy. Glass’s camera would detect the strength of the person’s pulse. Then music would start—“Staying Alive,” which offers exactly the right pace for chest compression. The gyroscope in Glass would determine whether compressions are adequate. While all this is going on, Glass would call 911 for you with your GPS location and also send a message to the nearest hospital to be prepared.

That’s impressive, but that’s not all. Glass could live-stream the resuscitation effort to medical professionals from the point of view of the person administering CPR, and they could provide that person coaching and direction until help arrives.

And then, it’s only a matter of time perhaps before all hospital staff would be wearing Glass, too, for information exchange and notification. For the rest of us, doing perhaps less intense daily work, we can consider that the same technology that makes such a difference at a hospital will be in our own hands at minimal cost. What will you do with Google Glass at work? 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Will employers say, “OK, Glass”?

People exploring ways to use Google Glass have to face the question: Can I use it at work? Companies big enough to have codified their HR policies or industries with privacy regulations are having to ask the other side of the question: Should Glass be allowed in the workplace?

Clay R. went straight to the human resources department at his company the first day he had Glass. He wanted to let HR know he had them and warn them that some of his coworkers might complain. “Their response was, ‘Why would anyone complain about THAT? It’s so cool!!!’ And then they all wanted to try it.”

Homer G. asked and received permission from the legal department where he works to wear Glass around the office on the basis that there is no policy to prevent people from carrying cell phones around the office. However, he had to agree not to record any meetings. The company actually has legal policies in place that prohibit recording devices in meetings.

Nick S. actually wrote out a six-page document to address each privacy concern he thought HR might have to his wearing Glass at work. “In the end, they stated it wasn’t the privacy issue. It was the unknown liability if I were to fall down a flight of stairs while using it.”

So consider these lessons:
o   Ask first. 
o   Share coolness.  
o   Follow rules.
o   Don’t fall.

You can get GAZE FURTHER directly to Glass by subscribing at SimpleWing.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

See what it does, then put it to work

Let’s be honest. Not all the buzz about Google Glass is good. That camera above the right eye—that’s just weird. “Can you really X-ray my purse?”

The reality is that Glass is monumentally less damaging to privacy than most smartphones at this point. People, though, are used to phones with cameras, while this—it’s an invasion of privacy.

Chris F. was told Glass wasn’t allowed when he entered a store in downtown Grand Rapids. “The kid working there seemed really surprised and super nervous about telling me they were not allowed,” he said.

With edginess like that, it’s time to explain. “After showing him that he could clearly see if I was recording by looking at the [eyepiece] prism, he dropped the subject and we continued on with our business.”

A restaurant manager asked Brian K. to take off his Glass. Brian pushed back: “I asked if she could disable the security cameras while I was in there, as it only seemed fair. She told me that turning off her cameras wasn’t an option she wanted to discuss.”

He switched his approach to one of informing and offered to show her everything that Glass could do besides video, even attracting people who may be in the neighborhood near her restaurant. “She was amazed,” Brian reported. “I think I am now her favorite customer.”

It wasn’t just a place of business but his own employer where Jared H. faced apprehension. “Some co-workers tried to prevent me from wearing them at work altogether. Luckily, one of my co-workers took up the cause and politely explained they were no different than a smartphone, and smartphones were perfectly fine to have at the office,” he recounted.

It’s logical that people who have seen impressive photos and video taken with Glass could think that’s what it exists to do: video surveillance. Right now, one by one, Glass wearers are disproving that concern. Next step: Make it easy to share information at work with wearable computing. That will really catch people’s attention about Glass on the job.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Where do I go next?

There are days I’m practically running from one conference room to another. I can envision this conversation: 

“OK, Glass. Remind me, where is my next meeting?” 

“The main conference room, 3rd floor.”

“Who will be there?” 

“Jason Oliver, Heather Garcia, Al Singh, Mary Brownwood, and Lewis Kim.” 

“What department is Jason in?” 

“He is the network operations manager.” 

Sure, I could juggle my iPhone as I hurry along, look up my calendar entry to find the location, click through to see who else is on the meeting invitation, and then search the people directory to find out who Jason is. Siri isn't quite up to this task yet, though she knows your location already and learns about you over time to better answer questions.

For Glass, the pieces are falling in place now for this kind of conversational search, especially the search capability to build on a previous question.

Without conversational search, the way the questions thread together, I would need to restate elements in each subsequent question:
“Where is my 3 o’clock meeting?”
“Who is attending my 3 o’clock meeting?”
“Where does Jason Oliver work?

My simple scenario illustrates how your device can understand what you are talking about—not just what you are saying—to connect facts. It might work for me if I used Google Calendar. I don’t. My day is logged in my employer’s enterprise system. It’s out of the reach of the “knowledge graph” that connects data for questions and follow-up questions for Google.

There are still some quirks, so while it is fun to test it out now, at some point you’ll find you have to revert to the old-fashioned way of search—keyboard input and reading the screen. 

Still, I can already use voice search and hear or see results returned. If you go to Google using Chrome on your desktop or have the Google search app on your phone, just click on the microphone icon to ask a question. Try something simple: Is it going to rain? I bet you’ll smile at the spoken and visual answer, especially considering you didn’t ask a precise question but a conversational question.  

I face another obstacle—my name. I have yet to ask anything that includes my name and have Google return a correct result. As you are asking Google a question, you see the letters and words onscreen as it hears you. My question seems simple: Who is Sheri Rosen? But Google hears: cherry rose, sherry resins, Jerry Rosen, Sharon Reisman, shee RI rose, Sherri Rose in, and if I’m lucky, Sherry Rosen. But there are a lot of Sherry Rosens out there, and not one of them is me. It’s only worse when I try to spell a word or name, because Google tries to prefill and guess what it thinks I really meant and always gets it wrong. I must have tried this self-search a couple of dozen times, on Glass, smartphone and desktop, even expanding the question with a descriptive hint, like “in Texas” or “employee communication,” and never once gotten a correct return. I suppose I need someone to start a Wikipedia entry on me.  

Nonetheless, in the spirit of gazing further, I’m hopeful we will soon get past obstacles like spoken name recognition and walled gardens. Actively participating in the discussion now will help shape the future as we envision it. In my mind, it’s a short leap from voice search to when-I-ask-for-it information and education for a company’s employees.