The Potential Of Google Glass For Travelers

One of the more interesting products currently in development at Google is a high-tech, wearable gadget known as Google Glass. In a nutshell, when worn like a typical pair of glasses, the device suspends a small LCD screen in your peripheral vision. When paired with a smartphone via BlueTooth, Glass is capable of displaying a variety of information without the user ever taking the phone out of their purse or pocket. Until recently, just exactly what information Glass could display, and what it would look like, remained a bit of a mystery. But earlier this week, Google released a video showing off the gadgets capabilities, some of which will come in very handy for travelers.

In the video, which you’ll find after the jump, you’ll see Google Glass helping someone navigate through a city, which is of course something we can all appreciate when visiting a new destination. Imagine simply asking the device to help you find a cafe, museum or other point of interest and then have it not only show you results, but also give you turn-by-turn navigation with visual prompts right on its tiny screen. That’s something that would certainly come in handy when navigating the congested streets of Paris or Rome.

But navigation is just the tip of the iceberg. The video also shows a user asking for a language translation and then quickly being provided the word that he requested. I think we would all agree that translation would be extremely helpful when visiting many foreign locales. It is easy to see future versions of Glass also being able to listen to and automatically translate full conversations in real-time or even providing written translations of signs, menus and banners too.Google Glass will come with a built-in camera, allowing the users to take still photos or video from their travels by simple issuing a voice command. Those images and videos can then be shared with friends and family via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The device has the potential to become the GoPro camera for the non-action sport crowd too, capturing all kinds of POV experiences from our travels.

Being location-aware, future iterations of the device could potentially allow users to leave augmented-reality notes for one another providing clues and suggestions on where to eat or stay while in a certain area. Then, as the user moves through those locations, he or she would see those notes appear on their screen as they pass by. The notes could include Yelp reviews, money-saving tips, hours of operation and a host of other information.

Google Glass is only currently available to app developers and beta testers, but Google is expected to bring it to market next year. The pre-production models run $1500 but that is expected to drop substantially when the consumer version becomes available sometime in 2014. Of course, we’ll also need to have a compatible smartphone (count on Android and probably iOS support) and a good data connection to make it all work. But the potential is there for a great product that can benefit travelers in many ways.

Now if they can just find a way to make them a bit more stylish.