Google’s Project Glass could be innovative enough to leap-frog Apple

by Kristen Nicole

The comparison between Android and iOS isn’t like comparing apples to apples, and the recent release of Instagram for Android reminds us of the stark differences between these two camps, at least as far as consumers are concerned. Instagram for Android has sparked an elitist debate on Twitter as iPhone users complained that the previously iOS-exclusive photo-sharing app had opened the floodgates. “I'm absolutely #outraged that Instagram is on Android now,” one Twitter user announced (whether in jest or seriousness, it’s hard to tell). “Now it's gonna be populated by people who are poor and can't afford an iPhone.”

An elite pair of eyes for Googlers

Stinging commentary for Android fans, but they may soon have an air of exclusivity all their own. Google revealed more details on their upcoming Glasses initiative, we now know is called Project Glass. Google released a video that shows how their glasses would work from the user perspective, never actually showing the glasses themselves. But from the clip you can see that the glasses are quite interactive, leveraging a heads-up display that pushes alerts, provides location data and social updates, and even takes photos. The video demonstration shows a person wearing the glasses from the moment they wake up, receiving an alert about subway maintenance as they approach the train, a friend’s nearby location, the option to check-in at a local hot dog stand, and the ability to take a photo of some wall art.

Seeing a clear opportunity for Google Apps and AI

Project Glass is another gadget capable of incorporating Google’s many apps and services, from Maps to Google+. And even though Google despises patent battles between rivals, they’re going to need a patent or two for these new glasses they’re working on. This may even be an opportunity to integrate their recent patent for picking up on background noise and other location-aware data, developing an entire AI system around Project Glass. Mobile gadgets are the entry point for the potential mass consumer adoption of AI, and can even solve the problems of behavioral targeting solutions that give us bad recommendations, says Expertmaker’s founder and CTO Lars Hard.

As a maker of AI software, Hard recognizes the potential behind AI integration in our social-mobile lives. Not only will AI simplify our user experiences as an intelligent way to handle our information, but it can keep our local, mobile, social lives in order.

“AI will be instrumental in moving social networking behavior from being an activity we merely consume, to a contextual feature that helps us without explanation,” Hard says. “Virtual assistants will alert us to social activities that are interesting to us but only when we want or need this information based on where we are and what we are doing. These assistants are part of a bigger trend to create a virtual arsenal of assistants for all our daily personal services – from shopping to banking.”

Indeed, Project Glass may be the ticket for Google as a way to surpass Apple’s lead on innovative gadgets. “This puts Google out in front of Apple; they are a long ways ahead at this point,” said Michael Liebhold, senior researcher at the Institute for the Future, who specializes in wearable computing devices. He notes that Google has the talent and the data elements to pull this off.

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