There is a growing clamour to anoint Google Glass the natural successor to the iPhone. Not since that fateful day at the 2007 Macworld convention has a new technology generated so much press attention. The fact that Glass is even mentioned in the same sentence as the iPhone is a big deal. If Glass succeeds it would join past luminaries like the fire, wheel, print, steam, electricity, internet and iPhone in the timeline of innovation. That is how big a deal it could be. When launched, the iPhone was dubbed the Jesus phone. If so, has Google invented God’s glasses?
Humans, like water, like to follow the path of least resistance. This is best reflected by the technology we use. Perhaps the fact we are over 75 per cent water has something to do with it. Google Glass and more broadly, wearable technology, presents the next paradigm shift in how humans interact with the internet. Glass allows us to do everything we do on a mobile today, without the need to stop and stand still. It takes away the major friction point of using a mobile by being immersive, not intrusive.
In my (augmented) eyes, I believe the launch of Google Glass will change everything. To interact with a mobile device effectively you have to stop whatever else you are doing. Even though we try to multi-task, it is more annoying than effective. Trying to walk, talk, drive, email, drink and eat whilst using a mobile is not only challenging but illegal in some cases. If anything, this is the unique selling point of Google Glass. Instead of surrounding ourselves with smart screens as we do today (the average UK home has over ten through a combination of televisions, mobiles, tablets and computers), we can now just wear one. Sure it has all the standard features of a mobile like a camera, phone, email and social networking, but really it is all about speed and accessibility.
Glass presents the perfect platform for Google to show off its extensive range of capabilities. Only Google has the arsenal to integrate maps, gmail, wallet, search, offers, cloud and a host of other features. In doing so, Google Glass will essentially become our sixth sense. In the same way that we use sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, we will use the power of Glass to augment the information we have to hand. Glass could mean we never make a wrong turn or an uninformed decision. With Glass we can draw on the vast resources of the internet without lifting a finger.
As Glass further integrates the digital and physical worlds, our reliance on being connected will become an addiction. The desire to be more informed means that everything created by humans will at some stage be connected to the internet. Glass will then be further enhanced by the roll out of sensor technology and the move towards the ‘Internet of things’. You will even be able to use Glass to contact your driverless car to collect you from the restaurant you are leaving.
Whether it is something we are watching, something we are hearing or something we are doing, Google will use this new volume of data to more closely recommend and respond to events in real-time. Google will also be able to understand your behaviours and preferences at a much deeper level than ever before. The only challenge will be whether we will ever be able to discover something new. If you keep getting presented with what you already prefer your palate never broadens.
On the basis of the early trial results and the arsenal of products Google has in its armoury, it is easy to see why Glass could become the next big thing. With a massive reduction in the pain of using a mobile, Google has a massive opportunity to change everything that we do today. The only way to improve on Glass would be to deliver the same capability in a contact lens. Based on Moore’s Law it will probably happen at some stage. In the short term though, we can just watch and marvel at how Google has managed to turn water into wine.
Let me know your thoughts on Glass and its potential impact to banking?