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.”