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What Google’s “Project Glass” Glasses Can Do for Travel

By SHANNON KELLY

Photo courtesy of Google

This month, Google released a video of how its much-hyped, prototype-stage augmented reality glasses might work. (And apparently, sunglasses company Oakley is working on something similar, only better-looking according to its CEO.) Google’s video follows the wearer’s point of view as he uses voice-operated commands to text and call friends; receive alerts that friends are nearby; save reminders; upload and send images; check maps and transit service updates; and share what he’s seeing via video-chat.

For travellers, a tool like this could change the way we explore and record our travels. You could, for instance:

• Share experiences in real time: call home and have your jealous buddy go virtually hang-gliding with you in Rio de Janeiro.

• Never get lost again: pull up a map and follow it without lugging around a guidebook or map (and looking like a tourist); or connect with a friend or Google+ buddy to direct you there while you’re en route.

• Insta-photos and video: the ability to capture a photo or video without having to reach for your camera or phone is undoubtedly going to make recording your travels more convenient—and capturing impromptu shots that much easier. Plus you can take sneaky photos of people and in quiet places without disturbing anyone. (of course, we always recommend asking first when photo-taking could be a cultural taboo!)

• Make “serendipitous” discoveries: imagine walking down a street and learning that a band you love is playing nearby that weekend, a bar you’d never notice has two-for-one drink specials or your best friend from university’s favourite independent bookstore is around the corner; though there’s something to be said for experiencing the unknown, it’s also a bummer to realize what you missed out on after the fact.

• Real-time translation: Okay, so Google hasn’t mentioned this, but we can bet that it’ll be an add-on or third-party app in the future

We may not see these glasses in the near future though: there are some serious questions about their feasibility and concerns about safety, i.e. bumping into people on the street and walking into traffic (and we hope they’ll be banned for drivers).

Got your own ideas? Tell Google what you’d like to see from the glasses.

Check out Google’s video of how these glasses could work:

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