The latest in technology that makes it possible for us to see the world, and interact with others, is the Google Glass, which has made its way onto most of our mobile phones and tablets.
But, in Canada, the Google glasses are far more popular than most of us realise, according to a new study.
The researchers say Google Glass could be the first step towards making Canada a more digitally connected country, with the technology used to send text messages, receive voice messages and play games being made available to all of us.
They say Google’s “Glass for Everyone” project could also be the start of a new era for Canadian culture and tourism, and could provide new opportunities for the country to attract foreign investment, said the study published in the journal Emerging Technologies.
For some, the idea of bringing Google Glass to the home is a no-brainer, and the study found that only 17 per cent of people have tried Google Glass.
But for the rest, the decision to buy one can be a tough one, said lead author Jens Hansen, a PhD candidate at McGill University in Montreal.
“If you’re not a Google Glass user, then the Glass for Everyone project could have a huge impact,” he said.
“This is the next step for us.”
He said that in order to make this happen, he and his colleagues needed to know more about the technology, and what it could do for Canadian consumers.
The first step, they say, is to find out how many people have bought Glass and how many have not, and then determine how many devices they own, and how much they spend on them.
In the first year, the researchers say, they hope to see Glass adoption among Canadian consumers grow to around 50 per cent, and they would like to see that number grow to 60 per cent by 2019.
“We’re trying to find a way to make the product available in a way that’s more accessible, more affordable, more comfortable for Canadians,” Hansen said.
And this could be done without the need to bring a laptop, or even a smartphone, with it, he said, because Google Glass uses the same optical and RF technology as the mobile phones.
Hansen said he hopes the Google glass project will make Canadian tech-savvy consumers feel at home.
“It’s a very interesting idea, and it’s one that is going to take a lot of research and experimentation to figure out how it works,” he added.
“But I think it’s very promising.”
Google Glass uses Google’s Android operating system, which makes it compatible with most smartphones and tablets running on Android smartphones, including Apple devices.
The company also sells an Android app called Glass for iOS that can be downloaded for free.
A Canadian app called Google Glass for Apple could be a good way to get the idea across, but Hansen says the company could also have a role to play.
“What I think the Google product team could do is provide the apps for free and get people to take the first steps in making this happen,” he explained.
“They could even help us make a phone app that’s going to be more useful than the Google app.”
A Google Glass app could also help Canadians better understand how it interacts with their phones and other devices, and also help people to decide which of their own devices they want to use to receive text messages.
“You could use the app to set up a new phone call with a friend, and you could also set up Google Glass,” he continued.
“It would be interesting to see how that might help in the long run.”
The study used data from 2,000 Canadians aged 18 and over who answered a survey about how they had used Google Glass or other technologies to communicate with their friends.
It found that Google Glass users were less likely to have been married than the average Canadian, more likely to be in the middle class, and more likely than the rest of the population to own a smartphone.
“Google Glass is not a panacea for everything, but it’s certainly one of the tools that is a great starting point for Canada,” said lead researcher Jens Henson.
“I think this is one of those opportunities where it could be something that makes us more connected, more open and more digitally-connected than we are now.”