Google Glass: The Next Greatest Thing Ever for Journalism?

When Google announced the arrival of its earliest model of Glass – the wearable computer that looks like a suspended monocle – my newsroom at Digital First Media’s Thunderdome wanted to be among the first to experiment with this new tool that could potentially have huge implications for journalism.

In Google’s Glass Explorer program, interested participants tweeted and G+’ed to Google what they would do if they had a Glass (#ifIhadglass) and Google chose the first testers of the new device from this eager pool. My boss, Robyn Tomlin, was one such winner.

In the time since we got our newsroom Glass, it’s been passed around, tried out and experimented upon by a number of staffers. A few of my much-smarter co-workers are working on apps for the new toy. It is expected to be in wider release next year.

What’s next for Glass and journalism?

I had a lot of great brainstorming discussions at the Mixer with journalists and educators about the future for Glass in our industry. The New York Times already has an app out for the device, with many more sure to follow. Here are a few of the ideas tossed around in our informal brainstorm:

  • Incorporate augmented reality layering with reporter created and curated information about a local area or landmark. Look out the Glass and see historic news stories about that location, visualize restaurant tips, crime data, etc. The possibilities here are endless.
  • Augmented Reality via Glass could also work great for monetization products: Home sale prices, product comparisons, etc.
  • A reporter using Glass could more easily capture the chaos of a breaking news story. Imagine rushing into a war coverage situation, protest, storm, police situation, etc. with cameras at the ready to roll at a single command – all leaving your hands free for notes, tweets, etc.

What else?

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  • ctrent

    i know this is a stupid question, but what about us geeks who already wear glasses — even on my big melon, there’s not enough real estate

    • Not at all a stupid question. Google’s supposedly working on a version that either works with glasses or has a prescription lens built in. More on that:

  • Evonne Benedict

    Great overview Mandy and you look good in the Glass! Love the idea of using it in a breaking news situation.

    • Thanks, Evonne! It takes some getting used to, for sure.

  • Ive been dreaming of a solution like Google Glass for many years. In 2009, when I began developing mobile augmented reality apps for Android and then iPhone, I gave a talk to a conference about AR and predicted Glass would be available in about 10 years. Things are moving way faster than I expected. We went on to tether history and entertainment related stories to places. Then deals to places. There is no question in my mind that your “what’s next” is right on. Now my question: what happens to citizen journalism when everyone is outfitted with hardware that captures video and audio in a click (or blink). In contrast there is far more friction with today’s mobile phone.What’s going on now is truly kid stuff compared to what we’ll witness then.

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