Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass. Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin wearing Google Glass. Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr.

Just over one year ago, the video “Google Glass: One Day” went viral, with more than 21 million viewers ogling the prospect of a new wearable computer.

Well, “one day” is quickly approaching and even though Google has yet to reveal the release date, the new gadget is getting a lot of attention.

The majority of people who have gotten their hands on Google Glass already – including a number of influencers, Google employees and the winners of the Twitter #ifIhadGlass contest – have liked it.

Google Glass is activated by voice and touch commands and the display appears in your field of vision just above your direct line of sight. Essentially it’s the next generation Smartphone, for your face.

With Google Glass you have access to maps, weather, texts through voice conversion, camera features with a tap or a wink, web searches through simple voice commands, translations that speak directly into your ear, facial recognition that can be linked to reminders, and of course video recording and video calling, which allow others to see life through your eyes.

Brands on Google Glass

With 10 percent of Americans already interested in buying a pair of the high-tech glasses, according to mobile application specialist BiTE interactive, Google Glass is poised to be yet another platform for brands to engage with users – and vice versa.

Google has said that it wants Google Glass to be free from clutter and intrusive advertising but playgroundlabs, a mobile software company, has created a video that shows how brands might be able to leverage the platform effectively.

Of course, brands will have to change the way they create and design content to fill Google Glass’s field of vision, just as they had to learn (and are still learning) how to craft Facebook status updates or mobile-friendly content.  Soon 140 character tweets will be reduced to headlines and photos since that’s all Glass wearers can see at first glance.

Elle, Evernote, CNN, Facebook, The New York Times, Tumblr and Twitter are among the first wave of third-party brands working with Google to create apps – known as Glasswear – for the device.

Google Glass on brands

Google Glass is also set to disrupt the way brands interact with customers face-to-face, particularly in the healthcare, retail and hospitality industries. Healthcare workers are excited about the possibility of Google Glass becoming a regular feature in hospitals and see the device’s potential to reduce medical errors.

Doctors can use Glass to access chart information, surgeons could live stream operations for students and residents and ambulance workers could use the device’s web browser as a diagnostic reference.

In the hospital and retail sectors, Google Glass would help brands monitor customer relationships through the eyes of their employees in the field. Facial recognition can be used to identify customers in order to access their history, preferences and offer promotions. Google Glass can also be used to quickly scan and take stock of inventory.

Overcoming the creepy factor

Of course, many of Google Glass’s functions make people uneasy.

Privacy concerns are at the root of many critics’ resistance toward the device, especially because it’s difficult to tell when the device is filming or taking a picture. Google Glass would undoubtedly be banned in movie theatres and performance venues. Even though Google Glass hasn’t hit the market yet, a bar in Seattle has already instituted a “No Google Glass” policy.

Others are concerned about the social implications of Google Glass. Putting aside the issue that the glasses make people look they’re on the set of some low-budget sci-fi movie, some fear that Google Glass will make people even more disconnected from their physical environment, despite Google senior developer Timothy Jordan’s assertion that “by bringing technology closer, we could get it further away.”

Related