Wearable tech like Google Glass heralds bright future for newspapers

10 Apr 2014

The convergence of consumer tech such as Google Glass eyewear and advances in augmented reality could spell a bright future for physical media, such as newspapers and street advertising, GlasswareFoundry CEO Dave Lorenzini said.

Lorenzini helped create Keynote Inc, the company that was acquired by Google and which became Google Earth.

Today Lorenzini is an authority on augmented reality, which involves blending digital information and special effects into your view of the world. GlasswareFoundry is one of the world’s first app firms dedicated to creating killer apps for Google Glass and other Head Mounted Displays, or HMDs.

Google Glass eyewear is expected to go on sale this summer following the search giant’s annual I/O conference in June and the devices are expected to retail for under US$500.

As Lorenzini sees it, the technology is now at a similar pivotal point as the summer when Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007, kickstarting the smartphone revolution. He believes Google Glass will signal the dawn of a new age in computing history.

“This is the most exciting year in a decade for this technology – we finally have the hardware, the computer vision software, gesture control and natural user, voice interfaces all coming together to deliver an amazing experience.”

Persistent vision


Lorenzini, who will be speaking at next week’s AR Marketing Conference at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, predicts that the arrival of Google’s Glass eyewear will herald major opportunities across a variety of industries from tourism to healthcare, fashion and media.

From a fashion perspective Google has created four prescription frame choices and has entered into partnerships with firms like Luxottica, owner of the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands.

Lorenzini predicts businesses will be able to use the proliferation of Glass eyewear to offer a variety of interesting apps by harnessing augmented reality, such as the ability to show consumers if property is for sale or if jobs are available just by looking at a building.

Using a term ‘persistent vision’ Lorenzini predicts traditional media industries that looked like they were being overtaken by the internet could have a renewed sense of purpose in the wearable device age.

“The difference between augmented reality of yesterday and what’s coming is that instead of having to hold your phone or tablet up and use the camera to look at an object, you could be reading the sports section of a newspapers and a reel of video from the match will materialize above the headlines, or if you’re reading the business section the latest stock prices will float into your vision.

“Persistent vision is what Glass is all about – that’s where augmented reality will really take off and become effortless and instant – there’s no more having to take a device out of your pocket and launching the app. It will happen naturally.

“For publishers, I think we’ll see this supercharge print.

“I used to believe that all the digital stuff would kill the print industry, but actually the arrival of wearable tech like Glass could make the newspaper one of the most valuable things you can have, because it’s literally a canvas on to which to paint living, breathing, highly targeted digital content that informs, educates, and moves readers to action.

“This will prove amazing for publishers,” Lorenzini said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years