Out of all the cool gadgets coming out this year, the most interesting has got to
be Google�s internet-connected eyewear, Google Glass. But aside from making
you look a little strange and taking pictures as you recklessly spin people�s kids
around, what will actually use Google Glass to do?
I�m Donald Bell, and in today�s Top 5 I�ll be counting down my list of the most
useful ways that Google Glass might be worth the public humiliation.
Starting things off at #5: TV Enhancement. A little screen to make watching the
big screen more fun. Now, Google doesn�t show any couch potatoes in their
promo videos, but you know it�s gonna happen. You could call up player stats
during a baseball game, or look up an actor�s IMDB page during Game of
Thrones. On the downside, it�s another screen to put ads on, and Google does
have a knack for putting ads on everything they make.
At #4: biofeedback. You think the Nike Fuelband is awesome, just wait until you
have a heads-up display of your heart rate, calories burned, steps taken -- all that
stuff, superimposed over your morning jog. Maybe it will help you with your golf
swing, or your jump shot, or gently remind you that you�ve been sitting on your
ass in front of your computer for 6 hours straight. Google Glass could make us all
Coming in at #3: Face Recognition. Now, Google hasn�t announced this as a
feature, and I understand that their is a huge, privacy-obliterating downside if
they ever did, but it would be fun for a minute, right? I mean, as someone who is
really bad at remembering people�s names, it would be like crutches for my brain.
�Oh hey, how�s it going... Dave.� It could also tip you off if there�s someone at a
party who you want to avoid, like an ex, or some creep wearing Google Glasses.
Alright, now we�re starting to get into the genuinely useful stuff. At #2: instruction.
Want to learn how to bake the perfect oatmeal cookie? Just pull the step-by-step
YouTube video up on your eyeball. Need advice on changing a diaper - hopefully
not your diaper? Just get mom on a Google Hangout and show her a point-of-
view streaming HD video of what a disastrous parent you are. Until we can
upload skills into our brain Matrix-style, Google Glass is the next best thing.
But it also has the potential to be the final blow to any sense of personal space
we have left. Before we get to the #1 potential benefit of Google Glass, let�s
account for the negative side effects.
Have you ever had a complete stranger come up to you and put a camera in your
face? It�s unsettling. And if Glass takes off like Google hopes, any notion of
public anonymity will be gone. We will be the Big Brother we�ve always feared.
And if you think smartphones have killed dinner table conversation, just wait until
Facebook and Twitter are running constantly on everyone�s eyeballs. It�s enough
to make you want to live off the grid and black out the windows in your solar-
powered geodesic dome. You have every right to be a little ambivalent about this
But maybe it�s all worth it for #1, right?: Navigation. Google Glass looks like the
best tool ever invented for the directionally challenged. Whether you�re in your
car, on your bike, or hiking around, you�ve got a permanent readout of where you
are and where you want to go. It�ll be great for tourists or anyone just trying to
figure out how to escape from IKEA.
So there you have it, five potential uses for Google Glass that have me both
excited and slightly terrified for humanity. You can follow me on Twitter for
updates on my geodesic bunker, or head over to Top5.CNET.com for more of
these amazing Top 5 videos.
I�m Donald Bell, thanks for watching.
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