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Google Displays Input Devices Hardware

Developers Begin Hunt For a Killer App For Google Glass 155

Posted by timothy
from the ok-cupid-are-you-listening dept.
holy_calamity writes "Companies large and small are working to create the first "killer app" for Google Glass, the wearable display to go on sale later this year, reports MIT Technology Review. Evernote is among large companies that got early access to prototypes and has been testing ideas for some time, but is staying quiet about its plans. Meanwhile new startups with apps for Glass are being created and funded, although uncertainty about whether consumers will embrace the technology has steered them towards commercial and industrial ideas, such as apps for for doctors and maintenance technicians."
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Developers Begin Hunt For a Killer App For Google Glass

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  • virtual or not.....

    or straight out of Dilbert, imagining being able to shoot torpedoes and such at people annoying you....

    on a more serious side, if they had the ability to track multiple moving objects you could have all sorts of uses.. even for the blind by simply outing audio. They would be less obtrusive than a dog

  • by markdavis (642305) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @09:42AM (#43125251)

    >"although uncertainty about whether consumers will embrace the technology"

    Personally, I think people are rude enough with their phones (and even tablets) as it sits now. I can't imagine it with a bunch of people with those stupid things on their heads. Now they can even look at you and still not be looking at you.

    Then add the aspect that someone looking at you wearing one is "recording" or at least "analyzing" everything seen and heard and sharing it with Google or whomever is quite invasive. It is one thing to give away your own privacy... and quite another to violate the privacy of everyone around you all the time.

    And please don't bother replying to this with crap like "but you are in public". It doesn't matter if you are in public or not. And quite frankly, sitting in a booth at a restaurant with a few friends, there is way more than a reasonable expectation that your conversations, your body expressions, what you are wearing and eating, etc are not shared with Big Brother or the entire world.

    I will try to keep an open mind. But I doubt I would be comfortable with people using those around me. It is beyond spooky. And I can't imagine I am alone. So that might be the answer to the summary's question about if consumers will "embrace" the technology.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm with you 100%. I hope restaurants ask people to take these off or leave. No different than a guy with a camcorder panning back and forth, or a smart phone doing obviously the same thing.

    • by pittaxx (2003818)

      Well, I imagine that they would be slightly "rude" than phones and tablets, but not by much:

      As the screen is positioned near the top of the eye, you would still be clearly able to tell quite clearly when the person is looking at you and when his eyes jump upwards towards their small screen (unless you on a significantly elevated surface),

      They would not be recording all the time either - I imagine that would just kill the battery life. In fact, given that the batteries on these are bound to be rather small,

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:12AM (#43125363)

      I see a growing market in clothing with integrated IR LEDs.

    • by macklin01 (760841) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:21AM (#43125383) Homepage
      Personally, as a guy with hearing loss that's really cutting into those handy consonant sounds above 2000 Hz, I'm thrilled at the idea of real-time "closed captioning" placed under each speaker. Right now, noisy restaurants and lectures can be a bit of a nightmare, even with top-of-the-line hearing aids.
      • by tfigment (2425764)

        This is the single best idea I've heard of regarding this technology so far and not one that immediately came to mind for what ever reason. I also suspect that people like the GP and myself would accept the technology if it was for a legitimate need like CC. Its far more likely to be used for voyeuristic purposes and I think that is what is objected to.

        I remember the iPhone app that translated signs you pointed the camera at from a couple of years ago. Not sure if that was real or not but that's the other

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "Personally, as a guy with hearing loss that's really cutting into those handy consonant sounds above 2000 Hz, I'm thrilled at the idea of real-time "closed captioning" placed under each speaker. "

        Albeit my hearing is not that bad, I'd prefer the built-in Picasa compare their faces to the database of sex-offenders, criminal record holders, persons who do have a FaceBook account and other low life and alert me to the fact.

      • by ukemike (956477)

        I'm thrilled at the idea of real-time "closed captioning" placed under each speaker.

        Translated closed captions for foreign vacations!

    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      Then add the aspect that someone looking at you wearing one is "recording" or at least "analyzing" everything seen and heard and sharing it with Google or whomever is quite invasive.

      Do what I do: never leave the house.

    • This is just the start - what are you going to do when the technology progresses further and this is all built into a contact lens? Or a cybernetic eyeball? Power and storage technologies will have increased greatly by then as well, so in 20 years you could have people trading in their biological eyes for electronic ones that are always recording, can zoom, provide facial recognition, etc.

      The march of technology is not going to stop just because some are uncomfortable with it, and the visibility of that tec

    • by swillden (191260)

      Now they can even look at you and still not be looking at you.

      Actually, it's very clear when a Glass user is looking at their display vs looking at you. In order to look at the screen they have to look up and to the right. When their eyes are focused on you, they're looking at you. When their eyes are focused somewhere above your left shoulder, they're looking at the screen. (I've had the chance to play with one for a few minutes.)

      Then add the aspect that someone looking at you wearing one is "recording" or at least "analyzing" everything seen and heard and sharing it with Google or whomever is quite invasive.

      I like the idea of having a continuously-recording camera on my head. I don't want it to save everything because that would just be a huge

      • um, another device does this.

        http://looxcie.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/65/related/1 [custhelp.com]
        "Looxcie's Capture to Buffer feature that let's you "go back" and grab video moments from the past. Often times when recording you will see something that just happened and want to grab what you just saw.
        In this case, you are simply accessing the last 30 seconds of our continous video buffer to create this "instant clip"."

    • by Tom (822)

      I'm so with the parent on this one.

      If this were a standalone product that uses my smartphone or even a small wearable computer for its data processing, I would be totally thrilled and would've probably pre-ordered one already.

      But the simple fact that it will share everything I see with a 3rd party is enough to make me not want them. Both for my own privacy and that of others around me.

    • by timholman (71886) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @01:12PM (#43126151)

      Then add the aspect that someone looking at you wearing one is "recording" or at least "analyzing" everything seen and heard and sharing it with Google or whomever is quite invasive. It is one thing to give away your own privacy... and quite another to violate the privacy of everyone around you all the time.

      And please don't bother replying to this with crap like "but you are in public". It doesn't matter if you are in public or not. And quite frankly, sitting in a booth at a restaurant with a few friends, there is way more than a reasonable expectation that your conversations, your body expressions, what you are wearing and eating, etc are not shared with Big Brother or the entire world.

      While I agree that wearable computing will have many drawbacks just as you describe, there will be benefits as well. It is not a black or white issue.

      Consider a world where no child will be able to bully another without leaving irrefutable video evidence, or a world where no public servant will be able to act like a thug or a rude asshole without leaving a video trail. Consider a world where no supervisor will be able to sexually harass a subordinate without having video evidence sent straight to the subordinate's attorney. And for that matter, consider a world where accusations, true or false, will no longer depend on one person's word versus another's.

      Most anti-social behavior takes place in private between two people (perpetrator and victim); by effectively taking away that privacy, you are exposing that perpetrator's behavior to the world. There's the old saying of "an armed society is a polite society", and when everyone is effectively "armed" with video surveillance tech that sends data straight to the cloud, the bullies and low-lifes of the world will indeed be forced to be more polite, whether they like it or not.

      The world of wearable computing will indeed be very different, and there will good and bad aspects to it, just as there is with any transformative technology. But that world will be inevitable in any case, because the technology will be too cheap and useful not to be exploited in every conceivable manner.

      • I'll consider that world, and then leave it for one with move privacy.

        when everyone is effectively "armed" with video surveillance tech that sends data straight to the cloud, the bullies and low-lifes of the world will indeed be forced to be more polite

        Not when the bullies are the ones making the laws - and making laws to bash innocent people who commit victimless crimes (e.g. prostitutes) ... I can imagine your world, throwing increasingly more such innocent people into its jails.

        • by DiSKiLLeR (17651)

          Prostitution is perfectly legal in many parts of the world. And the law protects prostitutes.

          But yes, I figure you're an American and unware of this fact.

      • they just yank the glasses off first, then ground them into the dirt with their boot

        nothing changes

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          they just yank the glasses off first, then ground them into the dirt with their boot

          nothing changes

          Except you can't yank the glasses off everyone looking in your direction as well.

          It's really back to the old days when Google Street View captured people walking out of porn shops and other "undesirables" causing Google to have to censor everyone's faces to prevent recognition.

          OTOH, the killer app for Google Glass would be bible thumpers - think about it - they could just situate a bunch of people around store

    • by pmotuja (787913)
      Based on observation of the mobile device phenomena, the devices work people more than the people work the devices. So I predict you may need to alter your identity akin to something out of minority report in order to get your restaurant/public places privacy. Maybe this could be a new market of sorts even?
    • by Max_W (812974)
      It could be a lifesaving device for cyclists, for working women, for children, etc.

      If photos are recorded and uploaded to the server every 2-3 seconds, an attacker would think twice before approaching his victim.
    • by dave420 (699308)
      Actually it does matter that you are in public - that's the whole point of the word. If you are that scared of people seeing you eat, don't eat in public, but at home or at a private place. I know it kind of defeats your argument in one fell swoop, but that is the very definition of public.
  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @09:44AM (#43125255) Journal
    A good "killer" app would be to randomly black out the display for a second or three, particularly when GPS indicates a speed greater than 60 mph.

    If you want something beneficial to the wearer instead, how about a targeting reticle?

    • by lxs (131946)

      Real life Joo-Janta 3000 peril sensitive sunglasses! The estate of DNA will have your hide.

    • by swillden (191260)

      A good "killer" app would be to randomly black out the display for a second or three, particularly when GPS indicates a speed greater than 60 mph

      FYI, the glass display doesn't cover a significant -- or particularly important -- portion of your field of view.

  • Face labeling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @09:56AM (#43125299)

    So I don't need to remember my best friends' names.

    Sarcasm aside, pasting people's names over their heads would make Dale Carnegie warm all over. It would be useful for bosses, politicians and other people who need to fake caring about others.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Imagine being able to walk up to any random person and strike up a conversation with them, talking about details of their lives as if you'd know them for years. That's what I'm shooting for.
      • by markdavis (642305)

        Except people won't because they are too busy and absorbed in their virtual world to interact with people around them.

    • Many people I know come to me and tell me that they initially thought I was a cold bastard. Turns out it's just that I have a really hard time remembering names and even conditions about how I previously interacted with them. Once they get to know me, they realize I really care for my friends and am genuinely a good guy (just a bit on the quiet side) that they like being around.

      It gets better the more I interact with them, but it's always a struggle for me.

      I would love to have an unobtrusive heads up disp

    • Admit it, we want to tag people (things too, but mostly people).

      So we see someone whom we perceive to be a douchebag, we can tag him as #AbsoluteDouche and every body will know, when they view that person, that he has been tagged as such, and be prepared to deal him pre-emptively.

      Relevant XKCD: http://xkcd.com/796/ [xkcd.com]

      Also, relevant, if you have seen the anime Eden of the East [tvtropes.org], it revolves around a cellphone app with a similar tagging feature.

      • It'd be great to have a Health Bar too and a note of what your last conversation topic was.
      • So we see someone whom we perceive to be a douchebag, we can tag him as #AbsoluteDouche and every body will know, when they view that person, that he has been tagged as such, and be prepared to deal him pre-emptively

        How is that different from online bullying? I have this feeling that somehow you'll be one of the first to get the label.

        • I didn't say it was *nice* or that I *want* it to happen, it's just a prediction of what I think people will put the Glass to use.

  • it had better be real killer. Otherwise I don't see people spending $1500 to buy this thing when they already own smartphones and desktop computers.

  • by timholman (71886) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @09:59AM (#43125313)

    For me, the killer app for Google Glass is obvious. I want to be able to activate high resolution video recording in an instant, either with a single spoken word or a gesture/shrug.

    I have had many instances while driving/walking/jogging when I've seen some imminent accident/collision/crime where I needed a picture right now and not three seconds later. Fumbling for your cell phone camera takes too long; the moment has passed.

    Give me that capability and I'll be an early adopter.

    • this.

      I've always hated how slow some camera apps are, when i want to take a picture i want it to take the picture the same microsecond i give the command, not 1-3 seconds later...

    • I have had many instances while driving/walking/jogging when I've seen some imminent accident/collision/crime where I needed a picture right now and not three seconds later. Fumbling for your cell phone camera takes too long; the moment has passed.

      Are you sure "fumbling for your cell phone" isn't what caused the accident in the first place?

      I kid, I kid...

    • I have had many instances while driving/walking/jogging when I've seen some big ol' titties/whaletail/overall hot chick where I needed a picture right now

      FTFY

    • Protestors will wear Google Glass and get punched in the face by cops.
  • by SpaghettiPattern (609814) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:08AM (#43125347)
    Clearly POV is the killer application. I have seen one or two samples of it's outcome by various artists, who mostly remain anonymous, and are merely recognizable by the occasional body part coming, into view.
  • Someone is going to try to market a version of something like this as add-on or replacement for the ankle bracelet. Allows for a lot more monitoring.

  • Add horns to the tops of people's heads.

    Analyze body shape based on the clothes and then re-draw without them.

    Color the sky polkadot.

    Play Where's Wally? in VR,

    Have an animated Mitt Romney stalk women in your line of sight.

    No end to the apps once you have fast/live pattern recognition.
    There may even be really useful things to do with Glass, you never know.

  • The killer app is going to be when Google gets sued for billions by users who have had there eye sight damaged by Google glass, also the payments they are going to have to pay the original designer
  • by Jaktar (975138) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @10:32AM (#43125427)

    The 'killer' app is likely to involve PoV porn.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Ooh yeah! We could call it... "sex"! Oh wait, no, they already have that...
    • by CODiNE (27417)

      Like overlaying size and color matched boobs on every woman you see?

      Yeah that's pretty creepy.

  • "Developers Begin Hunt For a Killer App For Google Glass" can also be described as "there is no problem, but we have a cool gadget that needs a purpose". And once a developer has found this 'killer app', Google will use it to market it as a solution to a non-existing problem. But, that's also not a problem, because when it comes to cool gadgets, we all want to be fooled.
  • If it has video overlay.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @11:11AM (#43125589) Homepage Journal

    is called Ingress [ingress.com].

    Unless they meant killer in another context, an augumented reality FPS should work too.

  • by Fuzzums (250400) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @11:14AM (#43125601) Homepage

    Think about this: you're coding a nice algorithm. Meanwhile your goggles read your code and suggest improvements.
    Needless to say a copy of your code is sent to Google and patented even before you press "compile".

  • Looks like it's time for Joe Garcia to automate the first Burger-G as in the sci-fi short story Manna. [marshallbrain.com] The only question is... when will Google buy Australia? Or is that somebody else's problem?

  • An app to show when you have the right angle. Although im sure this won't go over too well once it's been found out.
  • 1) Threat meter (h/t to Omen from my WoW days). An app that scans public databases to build a threat profile (criminal and civil convictions, restraining orders, presence on sexual predator lists, bankruptcies, etc) and tags each person in view with their threat level and the axis of the threat. There are companies that do this right now; HR departments routinely engage their services to screen potential employment candidates.

    2) Snopes-o-matic. Parses assertions from people you are conversing with an

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @11:49AM (#43125783) Homepage

    All you have to do is read all the papers from Prof Steve mann and Prof Thad Starner. The two guys that INVENTED the technology that Glass is based on. Both of them have been wearing the real first prototypes for well over 2 decades now. and they both already figured out the "killer apps" that need to be written.

  • Come on, Slashdot loudmouths! Let's hear all the "obvious" apps you'll all be complaining are obvious a few years from now.

    No, I want to know what they are now, not after the fact, if they're so obvious.

  • Makes everyone with an iphone look like an alien.
  • My Killer App... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VirginMary (123020) on Saturday March 09, 2013 @12:55PM (#43126069)

    ...would be translation, à la Google Translate. When I was in Japan on a vacation, I would have killed for something like that! Imagine having signs that you look at translated. Or menus, comics, etc.

    • I can see that you've never tried to translate Japanese (or worse, Chinese) with Google Translate. Damn it, that software tries its best, but fails quite often.
      • What you can "see" is wrong! :-) I have indeed translated little snippets of Japanese with Google Translate. Yes, it is often terrible, but it also is frequently useful, for example I tried it on a sign in Kyoto and it translated it as "not cross". Knowing quite a bit about the structure of the Japanese language and how much it leaves out relative to English, it was easy to guess that what it would be in English is "Do not cross!". I also found various other useful snippets. As Google Translate is base

  • Is there any way for non-US citizens to get their hands on Google Glasses ?
  • Make it easier to lipread speaking people by displaying hints next to their mouths. The hints would for example show degree of vocalization of the speech sound.
  • People who sell things can use it to identify customers who walk into the store. The pushy sales people at Best Buy will wear these. It will tell them what items you were shopping for on Amazon earlier in the day.
    Police will use it to search for wanted criminals. They will have about 1000 local wanted posters downloaded on their phones. Google Glass will check everyone's face against those 1000 photos in real time.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who wants to control the Glass using your voice? No, I want to control it using my eye movements, so that people don't know what I'm doing.

  • How about this: When you're giving a PowerPoint presentation, all your notes for the current slide are shown in the glasses. Perhaps even the upcoming slide?
  • If paired with GPS it could create the 3D map of the world.

    No need to use a "street view" car anymore.
  • Use the goggles to identify and point out a face in a crowd.

  • Excellent Science fiction on many levels.
    Takes a while to get started, but he really pulls it together.

  • Bicycle HUD display. Speed, Heart Rate, Rear View display . . . THAT is SOFUCKINGCOOLMYMINDCANTHANDLEIT.

  • Google glass is clearly the perverse best friend. It'll help watching children and recording your time with them. So good apps would be police trackers (see how closed the pigs are from you while you're nutting inside a kid) or maybe something that describes new toys. You can lure in kids if they're playing with something and you come off looking clueless about it.

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