Google plans to release Heads Up Display (HUD) glasses powered by Android by year’s end. For anyone who has ever used Google Goggles, this should be of little surprise.
A heads up display would likely integrate Google Goggles, Google Voice Search, Local Search, some iteration of OCR technology and, of course, a camera.
What is a Heads Up Display?
Heads up displays are commonly used in first-person shooting video games as seen above. Typically, there’s a set of transparent information that works in conjunction with information that appears on screen, or — in the case of Google — the objects, places, and GPS coordinates that Google recognizes.
A heads up display is incredibly valuable because it seamlessly integrates information, preventing people from needing to look between screens to absorb information.
Why Would People Want Google’s HUD Glasses?
Here are four examples of how the Google HUD glasses might be insanely valuable to people:
- Google Maps Overlay: Imagine you’re looking for a friend’s apartment, a local store, or an exit while driving or walking. It might soon be possible to actually follow a yellow brick road to your destination while also absorbing real-time traffic information and alternative directions to maximize efficiency in traveling.
- Social Connections: Imagine you’re looking for your child at a rock concert, your dog in a large park, or your car in a large parking lot. It might be soon possible to find and connect to friends through a localized version of Google+. It could even be expanded to reach people based on common interests such as a dating profile, professional profile, or interest-based connections for finding local tennis players or bridge games.
- Video: Recording images/video could now become more simple and intuitive than ever with a look and capture functionality.
- Access to Local Reviews: Users could now quickly find a new restaurant that’s algorithmically weighted based on GPS coordinates, your restaurant preferences, reviews of people in a Google Circle, and overall community reviews. This would also be an extremely logical place to integrate Zagat, which Google acquired in September for $151 million.
How Marketers Might Benefit
Here are four examples of how the Google HUD glasses might be insanely beneficial to marketers:
- Daily Deals: Google HUD might finally give the search giant a meaningful mechanism to compete in the daily deals market. If Groupon’s IPO has taught us one thing, it’s that the daily deal market isn’t nearly as easy to replicate as previously assumed by business analysts. Imagine the power of being able to subtly offer daily deal specials to users as they walk down a street. This would offer advertisers a new distribution method and likely increase the value of a daily deal impression.
- Hyper Local Paid Search: This makes hyper-local paid search a bit more interesting, doesn’t it? Advertisers will likely be willing to pay an additional bid amount for customers in, say, a three block radius that have also expressed related keyword interest.
- Real-time Bidding/Related Offers: You’re standing at a Best Buy investigating that 50 inch TV of your dreams. Google glasses could upload to Google’s Cloud, and reveal competitors within a 15 mile radius that are selling the television at a lower cost. This would be extremely advantageous for low margin online outfits such as Amazon, and it’s not inconceivable that there could eventually be two-way conversation between customer and retailer (example: what if Best Buy instantly matched the Amazon price?).
- Brand Awareness/Display Advertising: We all know that Google is saving search histories. If you’ve expressed a previous search interest in yoga, it might be extremely helpful to be notified of a yoga studio near your home or office as you walk by.
Risks for Google
Google must remember that glasses will always be considered a fashion piece first. Therefore, they must look incredibly cool or risk getting tossed into the trash heap of technology products that are technologically advanced, but ultimately get rejected by a mass audience for superficial aesthetic reasons.
If you don’t believe this is possible, just ask Segway.