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Google's Project Glass: Envisioning the business boost

Skeptical about smart glasses that would augment your visual reality with data on the fly? You should be. But it is worth pondering some potential business uses for these newfangled glasses.

Google Project Glass
Tech meets fashion statement with Google's Project Glass.

Google has outlined a bit more about its Project Glass, an effort to deliver smart glasses that would enhance your visual reality a good bit with data on the fly.

I've been a bit skeptical about this mission of Google's, which incidentally will deliver ads right to your eyeballs. However, it is worth pondering some of the business uses for these newfangled glasses. Here are a few business use cases, some of which could be clearly a stretch.

Tourism: The upside is that Google's goggles could be the hip way to provide guided tours of almost everything. The downside is you'll get plugs and ads from your friendly neighborhood tourist trap.

Shopping and retail: See that jacket you've been craving? With Google's specs you'll be able to customize colors and order from your eyes. Shoppers will love a little virtual reality with the shopping experience. The downside is fairly obvious: Google can track what your eyes are doing and line up ads accordingly (only half kidding).

Local merchant marketing: Holy coupons Batman! It's one thing to walk by a restaurant and get a deal sent to your smartphone. It's quite another deal to get those coupons sent to your specs. The upside and downside here are the same thing really.

Real estate: Real estate agents think QR codes are cool. Just wait until they get their hands on Google glasses. You walk into room of a house you're eyeballing and instantly get the dimensions. You also get redecorating tips. Upside: You're more informed about a house and can better make a buying decision. Downside: You may also be able to call up your credit rating to remind you that you're totally stretching for your McMansion.

Business meetings are swell: If you're like me you barely remember your own name half the time. Google's goggles will allow you to scan your list of contacts -- with the help of facial recognition -- and then you'll remember that executive's name (or at least pretend to). There is no downside to this except that I'll have to use terms other than "dude," "pal," "chief," and other words used to hide the fact I can't remember your name. Another bonus: You can pretend you're paying attention in that 10th meeting of the day and surf the Web without anyone knowing.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Google's Project Glass: Pondering business use cases."