Is Google Glass For You?

This week—for one day only—Google allowed anyone to buy a pair of its much-hyped smart spectacles, Glass, for the cost of a month’s rent in Brooklyn.

Google’s calling people who’ve bought Glass, “Explorers.” That’s deliberate. Google actually doesn’t know what Glass should be for, but it wants everyone to help figure that out.

It’s a great deal for Google. The company’s m.o. from the beginning has been to build technology and then let applications follow. That philosophy led to the massive success of AdWords (after Google had built really cool, but rather unprofitable search technology). That’s why Google embarks on so many investment-intense projects, things like self-driving cars and taking roadside pictures of every street in the world. Now with Glass, Google’s doing it again—building cool tech with unclear applications—plus asking the rest of us what to do with it. Plus charging for the device itself. Not a bad business model, if you ask me.

But even though Google wants everyone to figure Glass out, I don’t think Glass is going to be for everyone.

Currently, Glass has a PR problem. Geeky early users have given it a sort of “creep factor.” But that will go away as the device disappears into its surroundings, starting with glasses, and then potentially—if recent patent revelations are an indication—contact lenses.

(read more about this Google patent on PatentBolt)

The above chart appears to be a bit of a conceptual mashup between Glass and a project Google announced in January this year. It’s a “smart” contact lens that would embed a glucose sensor in between two layers of contact lens material and allow diabetics to auto-beam blood sugar reports and warnings to their smartphones. It’s still in the works, but speculation has run amok about what could be next with smart lenses. First, cameras. Then? Content displaying over our eyes?

Technology is disappearing. As our chips get smaller and processors more powerful and less wired, gadgets and computers start to blend into our surroundings, or our other devices. (Calculators, for instance, used to be huge, and now they are software on any tiny device. Sophisticated computers are now being embedded into thermostats, and tracking sensors into plain old door locks that open with your phone. I once heard Ray Kurzweilgive a speech about how computers would one day be the size of red blood cells.)

So it’s conceivable that we’ll develop computers that could fit into our eyes. We’re a ways off from anything sophisticated. But the more important question at hand—the one that Google is asking people to help them figure out—is why would we want to?

Google undoubtedly wants Glass to break free of nerd-tech circles. That’s why we keep hearing about use cases like “artists” and “explorers” and “the disabled.” But at $1,500 a pop, I doubt that relatively many artists will buy in. It certainly won’t be a democratizing technology for creators in the way that cameraphones and Instagram have turned us all into photographers. And the use cases I’ve heard about blind people putting Google lensed cameras in their eyes to sense their surroundings are pretty bogus, too. There’s very little upside and a lot of downside and injury potential to having blind people stick microchips in their eyes when they could wear those same sensors in glasses or other things. (Now perhaps if we can get the technology to the point where it’s embedded surgically… that might be interesting…)

LinkedIn editor and Wired alum John Abell likens Glass to Segway: It was supposed to be the “people’s car 2.0.” That didn’t happen. But today Segway is a staple of mall cops everywhere. So it found its use case; it just wasn’t ubiquitous like the Volkswagon. I think Glass will be the same way. It’s not going to be the next cell phone. But doctors and scientists may really take to it.

Indeed, the applications that make sense for Google Glass seem to be primarily professions or lifestyles where enhanced vision is already needed:

  • Scientists, doctors, anyone who works under a microscope or magnifier
  • Education (Augmented reality enhanced learning? Maybe. But why glasses or contact lenses when we have huge screens and tablets?)
  • Explorers, adrenaline junkies (Perhaps Glass becomes the new Go Pro for people who want continuous video recording without the equipment.)
  • Tourists, navigators (Overlaying navigation or Wikipedia-style facts over the real world is a no-brainer.)
  • Childrens toys and games (Imaginary friends to play with, etc? Sure. Though Oculus Rift seems a better bet for the future of high-end gaming.)
  • Disabled assistance (I predict primarily for sensor detection in the body, which doesn’t have to be shown in a heads-up display, or certainly not a contact lens.)

You’ll note that looking at advertising is not on the list. Advertisers certainly will have a lot to get excited about with a new medium like in-vision display. But if there’s one thing technology has made we consumers good at, it’s avoiding interruptive advertising. (And demanding less of it.) As soon as ads start popping up in our Google Glass, Google Glasses are going to start ending up in the trash.

I look at technology like this through the lens of what we’re doing at my company, Contently, which is trying to create a better media world. Are there ways that layering content on top of our everyday vision can actually help make the world better? A lot of programmers bought Glass yesterday because they’re betting there are.

The real question is, when the hype subsides, will regular people want all the things those programmers build, or is Glass just the next Segway?


Written by Shane Snow. Shane is Chief Creative Officer of Contently. He writes about media and technology for Wired, Fast Company, Ad Age, and more, and tweets at @shanesnow. Visit LinkedIn today where this story is originally appeared

Advertisements

New Research Shows Which Social Networks Ideal for Marketers

Which platforms are most relevant to social media marketing right now? Marketers need to know where (and how) they should focus their efforts for maximum ROI.

This article gives you four major research findings from reports tracking trends in social media marketing and the content that works best on each.

#1: People Spend More Time on Visual Networks

It’s impossible to miss the powerful effect of visual content on the social web. It can significantly enhance a brand’s marketing objectives by generating more customer interest and prompting prospects to take desired actions.

As an example of the power of pictures, consider that Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram each gained over 10 million visitors in 2012, thanks to eye-catching content. Numbers from Statista numbers shared on Mediabistro show that users spend more time on Pinterest (1:17 minutes) or Tumblr (1:38 minutes) than on Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Google+ combined.

social network use stats from comscore

Visual social networks get more time from users than non-visual networks.

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate visual content into your own social media strategy, one of the key things you can do is include one or more high-quality images in all of your blog posts. (Don’t forget to add an ALT attribute in the image properties to help your SEO!)

You can also leverage real-time photo sharing. Customers and followers are used to seeing staged photos that highlight your products and the best parts of your company. Sharing impromptu pictures can be equally compelling when shared in real time.

When you do post product or brand pictures on networks like Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr, allow others to use your images in exchange for a link back to your site.

Don’t forget video! YouTube is the second-largest search engine (after Google, which coincidentally owns YouTube). Videos uploaded to YouTube do very well in searchand boost your site’s ranking. Interviews, Q&As, product demos or tips are popular with a wide audience beyond your current followers.

heygirl meme

Even if you don’t sell tangible products, your brand can still leverage visual content by using memes.

Finally, don’t give up on memes, which are especially popular on Tumblr. For the best success with memes, make sure they’re witty and match your brand and audience.

NPR did this particularly well by modifying the popular Ryan Gosling Hey Girl meme on their Tumblr page.

#2: Google+ Is Best for SEO

Google+ is finding success with social marketers more as an SEO option than a marketing tactic. While it’s doing better than Pinterest and Tumblr, only 14% of marketers are giving high priority to Google+ in 2014. 23% of those surveyed won’t consider the platform at all.

You should still have a presence on Google+, even if you’re only using it for SEO.

socialbakers social network user preference table

Google+ is widely seen as an SEO tool, rather than a compelling social network.

As you cultivate your presence on Google+, the first thing you should do is optimize your Google author profile with a great image. With an eye-catching photo, it won’t matter if you rank third or fourth on the search engine results page. Your image is what gets people’s attention and lends to your authority.

When you post an article on Google+choose your first sentence carefully and use keywords or phrases. That sentence is part of the title tag and can affect your search ranking. As a bonus, one of the great things about Google+ is that you canedit your title and posts anytime. If you find your post isn’t getting the traction you want, try a new title and lead sentence. That’s a lot of control right there!

As always, continue to publish great content on your blog and Google+. While you’re at it, go ahead and +1 your own content. Why not? Google already knows you’re the author anyway. At the very least, it encourages others to +1 your post as well!

#3: Facebook’s Updated News Feed Affects Page Posts

In January 2014, Facebook updated their news feed algorithm to deliver more relevant content to users. Status updates from pages are no longer treated the same as text updates from users’ friends, because most users interacted with friends, not pages.

What does this mean for you as a marketer? You have to mix it up. Since users may not see or engage with your page updates often, make your posts as interesting as you can. Include photos, videos, links (don’t forget to include a preview image), questions, events and offers.

bored office worker istock photo 5984364

Use interesting and fun updates to encourage your fans to engage with you. Image source: iStockPhoto.com.

In all cases, use the story type that best fits with the message you want to tell.

One more thing: If you use Facebook’s Promote feature and your post has an image, that image can’t have more than 20% text.

#4: B2B Marketers Are Most Successful on LinkedIn

Sixty-two percent of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the most effective platform for them, with Twitter and SlideShare close behind.

comscore and marketing profs social network confidence gap statistics

LinkedIn is the most popular social network for B2B.

How can you take advantage of the most effective social media network? Take advantage of LinkedIn’s publishing platform.

LinkedIn opened up its publishing platform (previously reserved for a few editorially selected influencers like Bill Gates, Martha Stewart and Joe Pulizzi) to all 277 million LinkedIn members. This could be a game-changer.

If you decide to publish on LinkedInknow that posts with the same basic information found on 50 other blogs won’t be successful. LinkedIn users look for well-written personalized insights, professional expertise and interesting industry opinions.

Surveys are helpful to gauge trends in social media; however, it’s even more important to track your own successes and build on them. You can use both options by keeping trends in mind and using them as guides as your marketing strategy and tactics evolve.

What do you think? Are the survey results above consistent with what you’ve seen in your own social media marketing? Which platforms are working best for you? Please share your successes and experiences in the comment box below.

About the author 

Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She helps business owners craft content that sells. Her blog provides healthcare industry content marketing advice. The first version of this story originally appeared on socialmediaexaminer.com