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Making Google Glass a Little Less Creepy and a Little More Useful


Google Glass has had its fair share of detractors[E1]  but, like any new technology, its value is really going to be determined by its usefulness.  And that's going to come down to Apps.  This year has already seen the promotion of the downright creepy[E2] , with FacialNetwork.com's launch of NameTag.  Despite Google's statement that it would not support facial recognition Apps, NameTag is set to launch this year.

Betsy Morais, writing in the New Yorker[E3] , gives a great overview: "You see somebody on the sidewalk and, slipping on your high-tech spectacles, select the app. Snap a photo of a passerby, then wait a minute as the image is sent up to the company’s database and a match is hunted down. The results load in front of your left eye, a selection of personal details that might include someone’s name, occupation, Facebook and/or Twitter profile, and, conveniently, whether there’s a corresponding entry in the national sex-offender registry... At the moment, the app’s expanding network includes about two million entries, and three hundred testers have already started using it. When the app is officially released to a general audience, sometime before the end of March, you will have to opt out of the database if you don’t want to be listed."

Whether this is plain creepy or a handy tool to be welcomed really depends on your idea of what constitutes a gross violation of privacy.

Luckily for Google, much less controversial Glass App innovation is taking place which could deliver real value for wearers - and it is coming from a surprising corner.

The banking sector is leading the way in creating value propositions for Glass wearers. 

The Spanish banking group, Banco Sabadell, has created a Google Glass App which displays the nearest ATM, enables accounts to be viewed and supports 24/7 video conferencing.  It plans to add an "instant cheque" mobile deposit service.  Pol Navarro, Head of Innovation at Sabadell, said: " Google Glass is perhaps a prime exponent of the new evolution the internet is about to experience... The mobile internet’s natural evolution will be living services.  Users will want to be able to interact with firms through many different devices and as quickly and intuitively as possible.  And we’ve already started to adapt ourselves to this scenario.”

This far-sighted vision shouldn't be surprising from a man who posits Service Design as the New Marketing[E4] , but given the sector he is operating in and its traditional reticence to embrace new technologies it is.

As Bradley Leimer, VP Online & Mobile Banking [E5] at Mechanics Bank, commented: "There  are still a number banks that do not have mobile banking apps or resident tablet applications.  Should these banks be considering looking at wearables when they haven’t developed the basics that customers want today? I don’t think so."

Yet Sabadell isn't the only bank to be developing Google Glass applications.  PrivatBank in Ukraine has also developed a Glass App, as its Marketing Director Dmytro Duilet describes[E6] : “PrivatBank has become one of the first banks in the world to begin implementing QR codes and voice-activated control to its services on a large scale... The architecture of our applications suits Google Glass ideally. We don’t even have to adapt anything, everything is ready.”

It is this kind of application which will really make Google Glass a meaningful proposition for consumers, says Alex Bray, Retail Channels Director at Misys Banking Systems[E7] : "“PrivatBank in Ukraine was one of the first banks to state their intention to launch a Glass-based app....The PrivatBank proposition is all about making transactions easier - and for me this is where any Glass proposition will be at its most valuable to a customer.”

*image credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/lawrencegs/








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