The Google Glass homepage features largely recreational consumer-driven uses, such as taping a ballet concert, performing Google searches, and navigation. A regular cellphone or GoPro can readily serve these needs, which leads me to question where the killer app for Google Glass may lie. Just as the Segway was supposed to change the world, its uses now are primarily saving security guards and tourists from too much walking.
Why is Google pushing a bunch of soft ‘wants’ instead of painful ‘needs’?
The life sciences, along with many other technical disciplines, face a substantial challenge both in visualization, and in real-time information delivery. Consider the cases of surgeons using Google Glass here and here, or the US military’s use of augmented reality to speed vehicle repair. Surgeons can use Google Glass to beam images and obtain remote guidance in real-time, and students can gain a first-hand view and ask questions in real-time. Augmented reality can permit fewer mechanics to repair vehicles faster and more effectively, reducing the number of personnel and equipment needed to be stationed in warzones or other dangerous areas. These applications represent currently pressing, painful, unmet needs.
Google Glass needs to take a lesson from the Segway debacle. Instead of pushing trivial or contrived applications on consumers (which may kill the technology), they would be better served by focusing on strong unmet needs, and letting consumers and hackers develop their own derivatives.