Google Glass in the Grocery Store


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I live in central Connecticut, just outside of Hartford. It's the part of Connecticut most people seem to forget exists. We are not Greenwich, and we are not the Litchfield Hills. Weekenders from New York City do not populate central Connecticut. We have our fair share of farms and rich people, but people who work in cubicles at insurance companies mostly populate the Connecticut River Valley and the surrounding hills. In my immediate neighborhood, almost everyone is a tradesman. When I need a shelf built or leak looked at, I just go and knock on someone's door. They often look at me with suspicion when I tell them I work from home. So it was not without some surprise when just a few days ago I was strolling through Whole Foods Market and I ran into my first ever "Glasshole."

Yes, right there between the organic avocados and free-range kumquats was a man wearing Google Glass.

I spotted him again in the hygiene section mulling over goat soap and could hardly take my eyes off of him. Seeing wearable technology in my grocery store was akin to spotting an okapi in my front yard. I'm not sure why Google Glass seemed out of place to me. We're hardly Luddites out here in the wilds of suburban Connecticut, but I really was taken aback.

I spend my days thinking about this kind of technology and wouldn't be surprised to see fellow conference attendees walking around with Glass strapped to their heads. I just wasn't prepared to have it show up in my real life, which, of course, is exactly where Google wants to be-right with us, during every mundane minute of our lives.

I got to wondering what purpose Glass was serving for this man as he squeezed ripe fruit and inspected heads of lettuce. Was Whole Foods feeding coupons directly to his field of vision? Is that why he headed over to check out the soap? Was there a sale I didn't know was going on because I'm a schmuck who stills relies on the tiny computer in my pocket (aka my iPhone) to get my information?

So, of course, I started watching YouTube videos when I got home. TechCrunch had one of the most informative videos. We get to watch as Google Glass helps Drew Olanoff navigate through the streets to get to his favorite coffee shop, reads him a New York Times story, and helps him read and answer email. He assures those of us who might suspect our fellow shoppers of recording their trip to the store that Glass is not, in fact, capable of taking more than 30 seconds or so of video at a time without running out of battery life.

Olanoff eventually says that Glass is "pretty handy for now," though he's not sure if it will really take off as a consumer technology. Personally, I can't imagine ever giving Google Glass more than a trial run just to say I'd used it. If I wore Glass on a regular basis it would, no doubt, end up being used as a headband just like my sunglasses.

With a current price tag of $1,500, Google Glass obviously isn't for everyone. I started looking around the web to find out who exactly-other than my fellow Whole Foods shopper-was using this tool, which is still in beta and not available to the public at large just yet. Over at Gizmag, Will Shanklin pretty much hits the nail on the head: "You probably only want to become an Explorer if you're a developer or an eager early adopter with plenty of money." But if that description sounds like your audience, well, then you better start thinking about whether or not getting your content on Google Glass is right for your organization.

Glass brings the mobile content challenge to a whole new level. As Sam Applegate at Ninja Creative puts it, "[A]pp developers and digital marketers must rise to the challenge of creating something new and engaging that truly gives value to the beholder. The extreme immediacy of the Google Glass experience will demand quality content."

Having a mobile-optimized site or native app is par for the content course, but Google is expected to make Glass available on the mass market sometime in 2014 and with that release will come lots of questions for your content strategy.