7 Things Libraries Can Do with Google Glass

Google Glass has been getting a lot of attention lately. It was recently demo’d at the SXSW conference and it just finished up its Explorer Edition contest which challenged would-be early adopters willing to pay $1,500 for a pair of the glasses to state what they would do if they had Google Glass in 50 words or less. Google Glass is in essence a wearable computer in the form of a pair of eyeglasses that are voice activated. According to the New York Times:

“Glass wearers can take pictures or record video without using their hands, send the images to friends or post them online, see walking directions, search the Web by voice command and view language translations. The glasses reach the Internet through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which connects to the wireless service on a user’s cellphone. The glasses respond when a user speaks, touches the frame or moves the head.”

If you’re wondering how you could use Google Glass in your library (besides hunting for Sarah Connor!), here are 7 ideas:

1.) Enhance Library Tours - Google Glass could amp up run-of-the-mill library tours with augmented reality overlays and imagery, as well as audio and video files explaining the history of the building, library collections, artwork, and more.


2.) Record Author Talks & Events – Wearing a pair of Google Glass frames, you or your library patrons could easily record library events while still socializing and interacting with participants, hands-free!

3.) Enhance Makerspaces – Offering Google Glasses to builders in makerspaces could provide them with all manner of helpful information including diagrams, instructional videos and more.

4.) Record hands-on Video Tutorials – Just as in the above video, Google Glass could record hands-on instructional videos for patrons from the creator’s point of view.


5.) Provide real-time OCR (optical character recognition) and text-to-speech translation for the visually impaired – Jeff Smith at the University of New Brunswick Libraries suggested using Google Glass to open the world of assistive technology for the visually impaired. One way to do this would be to leverage the capabilities of Glass provide to text-to-speech translation of written materials.

6.) Provide real-time language translation of foreign texts – Google Glass has the inherent ability to provide tranlations of textual materials, so why not let patrons use the frames to read foreign texts?


7.) Speak to patrons in their own language - Google Glass also has the capability of voice translations. Librarians wearing the frames could use them to discover translations, and/or there is already talk about apps that will let two people wearing Glass frames see the translations instantly on their own displays.