The killer app for augmented reality glasses will likely be social intelligence.

Google Glasses

The New York Times recently reported that Google is developing augmented reality (AR) glasses.  The glasses will overlay various types of information onto the user's view.  It will be an Android device and thus (hopefully) be open to myriad third party apps.  The design is supposed to be similar to Oakley Thumps.

While AR Glasses are a very cool concept, it's not yet clear what will be the Killer App. Notifications (email, text, etc) and geographic information (e.g. turn-by-turn nav) will be nice, but I suspect they will provide marginal benefit over similar phone apps.

Social Intelligence

I think the most popular apps will be related to real-time social intelligence; the glasses will use facial recognition to overlay key information about the people around you.  Never forget a name again!  The glasses can remind you of a person's employer, children's names, and the last time you saw each other.  Klik just launched on the iPhone and,in real time, displays a person's name over their head:


Another scenario involves highlighting people around you while walking down the street.  Different colors could represent:

  • Close friends
  • Acquaintances
  • Celebrities
  • Convicted felons

It probably won't look anything like Eagle Vision from Assassin's Creed but here's a screenshot anyway:

Constant Sensors

In addition to providing augmented reality, the glasses can also stream data to the cloud.  You will be able to use this data later for myriad interesting purposes of which I can only begin to speculate.  Snapshots of everyone you meet may be integrated into an online journal recording your interactions.  Google may offer a subsided pair of glasses if you allow them to track which stores you enter and which ads you look at.

That's all the musing I have for today but I plan on doing a follow-up post in the near future.