Thursday, April 18, 2013

Five Google Glass Applications that Are All But Inevitable

Previewing the “killer apps” for 2013’s hottest new tech…

By and large, I am not really the kinda’  person that gets excited about tech stuff.

As far as modern gadgets and gear go, I am still living in the Paleolithic Era, it seems. My cell phone holds about 1 KB of data, and my home computer is basically a glorified netbook from Obama’s first term of office. The most “recent” gaming device in my possession is a limited edition, Tommy Hilfiger-branded, banana-yellow Game Boy Color. I’ve never owned an i-Product of any kind, nor have a purchased a global positioning device of any order or sequence. To give you an idea of just HOW ass-backwards I am? I don’t even have a credit card to my name; and whether or not that explains why I am the only mid-20 something among my cohorts WITHOUT an astronomical amount of debt, I really cannot tell you.

That said, as soon as I heard about this newfangled “Google Glass,” I got excited. Hell, all things taken into consideration, I reckon the contraption might just be worth that initial $1,500 USD upfront fee, even. Think about it; for the first time in history, we have ourselves a mass-marketed device that would LITERALLY allow us to live in a true, never-off-the-cloud virtual reality. Well, I am sure there have been predecessors that Google probably ripped off for their latest and greatest advent, but still -- considering the capabilities of the tech, there’s no denying that we’re looking at an electronic apparatus that has the ability to alter culture in a way not seen since the proliferation of the Web in the 1990s or the rise of the VCR in the 1980s.

A lot of the potential software here seems pretty apparent; video camera functionality is all but a given, as is real-time GPS data. But where things can get utterly astounding as in how basement entrepreneurs could conceivably turn the platform into a market for all sorts of weird, entertainment and social amusement-type applications. What kind of apps could conceivably arise once Google Glass hits the marketplace later this year? Well, here are five potential software applications that I think are absolute givens, considering the new hardware specs and contemporary Gen Y consumption habits…

                             Live-Action Pac-Man!

...and, this, my friends, is how you OFFICIALLY end a recession.

The Premise: Who doesn’t love Pac-Man? If there was ever a game tailor-made for virtual reality, it would be Namco’s beloved binge-eating, survival-horror, social satire of American commercialism. How Pac-Man on Google Glass would work is extraordinarily simple; when you start a game, the Google Glass suddenly “darkens” your field of vision and places a line of “edible” dots in front of you. After yelling some basic information to the hardware’s internal CPU about how large your playing space is, a virtual “dungeon” is automatically created before your very eyes; from there, a motion-sensing mechanism built into the hardware gauges your movements, as you dart in and around corridors, hallways and other basic infrastructure while being chased by computer-generated ghosts.

Alternative Uses for Application? In a post-recession America, there are plenty of empty buildings, factories, schools and warehouses just sitting there, serving no real purpose for society at large. Imagine cities and communities getting together and holding massive “Pac-Man Glass” parties inside dilapidated housing and business structures, thus turning those colossal eyesores into a means of combating childhood obesity. Along that same vein, the app could be turned into a software module that places “edible” dots on highways, thus giving truckers and other long-distance commuters something to “do” while traveling.

Potential Software Drawbacks? It seems almost unavoidable that, at some point, someone will input the wrong playing field parameters, and as a result, wander out into traffic in pursuit of delicious, delicious power pellets. Also, expect concussion rates among children to sky rocket, as “Pac-Man Glass” results in an unprecedented epidemic of accidental head bumps on playgrounds across America.

High-Tech Tag!


The Premise: If there’s one thing the proliferation of “first person shooting” games has taught us, particularly in the domain of “online play,” it is that kids, even when they’re 40, sure do enjoy a heated game of “tag.” Unfortunately, social dictums pretty much frown upon anyone older than 12 playing the much loved schoolyard activity, but thanks to Google Glass, that old school pastime could be brought back to life though the miracle of modern technology. Imagine an entire soccer field of people, all wearing Google’s latest headwear (or is it headware?), armed with “virtual” laser guns, just blasting the holy hell out of each other in thousand man, live-action games of “Halo.” A computer-generated reticle, assisted by Google’s proprietary face-recognizing technology, pops up in front of a user’s visor, while simultaneously “arming” them with CGI, Star Trek weaponry. By shouting certain commands, users can effectively “fire” at each other, while a motion-tracking “Heads Up Display” keeps players informed of their “health” and “ammunition” levels.

Alternative Uses for Application? Clearly, the advent of Google Glass would result in an immediate resurgence in the popularity of “Assassin,” that old tag-variation that was fairly routine on college campuses back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Similarly, the cottage industries built around the app -- specialized weapons, different “terrain skins,” etc. -- would probably fuel the entire U.S. market for at least four or five years, easily.

Potential Software Drawbacks? Well, uh, I don’t know if you heard about this, but there seems to be a lot of mass shootings going on as of late. With that in mind, it’s probably not the best idea to mass market a product that allows individuals to literally “target” friends, family, classmates and coworkers for virtual death. Additionally, it’s pretty much a given that at least one police officer will mistake an in-game war cry of “DIE, DIE, EVERYBODY DIE!” for a physical threat; all in all, expect “Glass Tag!” to generate more than a trillion dollars in standalone profits, alongside a noticeable increase in the number of people getting “Trayvon’ed” on a daily basis.

t(APP)it! The ULTIMATE Social-Media Application!

Google Glass...helping you NOT get John Wayne Bobbit-ed since 2014!

The Premise: New technologies, so it seem, are driven by three primal urges; our urge as mammals to destroy (see the above app), our primal to ingest lots and lots of food (see the next app on the list) and our human urge to, as the great poet LL Cool J so eloquently described, “be doin’ it, doin’ it and doin’ it wild.” In that, t(APP)it! is pretty much the ultimate meat market software. You walk into a bar or a nightclub, you turn on the app, and using Google’s face-recognizing software, in tandem with Google’s far-reaching ability to trudge up one’s Google Plus and YouTube accounts, you’re able to find out pretty much EVERYTHING you want to know about the people you are socializing with. Think of it as being sort of like the scanner in “Metroid Prime,” only instead of collecting information about alien organisms, you’re trying to find out if the girl at the bar is a ho or not.

Alternative Uses for Application? With the app, you can catalog literally EVERY single person you come in contact with, and have an index for literally every one that walks into your life. Furthermore, the technology can be linked up with the “America’s Most Wanted” database, so if you encounter a really suspicious looking dude at the bank, you’ll know within seconds whether or not it’s time to duck and cover.

Potential Software Drawbacks? Well, there’s a lot of thorny legal ground already brought up by all of this social media stuff, and I think t(APP)it! will be the forum that FINALLY brings the whole “invasion of privacy through the Web” dealio to the Supreme Court. Seeing as how the application will be a tremendous boon to stalkers, chi-mos, fraudsters and all around perverts, expect the software to be declared unconstitutional sometime in 2018.

Calorie-Cruncher 3000X! 

So that's what they put in Fruit Gushers!

The Premise: People sure are health-conscious these days (sorta), and Google Glass would allow dieters and other finicky eaters to take their food quirks to lofty new heights. With Calorie-Cruncher 3000X, users could use a newfangled “scanning program” - basically, the same thing as Google’s face-recognizing technology, only involving foodstuffs - which is then able to visually “measure” the nutritional quality of the food one comes into contact with. Users can set personal consumption criteria, and the app would immediately censor any and all foodstuffs out of that range from appearing before you. As Calorie-Cruncher 3000X has a refined, comprehensive “content tracking” system, it would also allow those with allergies to detect whether or not a particular foodstuff is either edible or potentially life-threatening.

Alternative Uses for Application? Seeing as how the hypothetical software would be able to break down foods to fundamental caloric content and other nutritional bric-a-brac, it seems pretty likely that the software could be altered to detect the “composition” of other things, so you could tell whether or not that Prada purse being offered to you by a street vendor is the real thing or whether that dude that has ticking luggage is really a traveling alarm clock salesman like he says he is.

Potential Software Drawbacks? Restaurateurs would effectively ban patrons from wearing Google Glass, primarily out of fears that the technology would inform would-be diners about inordinate amounts of rat poop in their food. Likewise, Coca-Cola would file a massive cease-and-desist motion, in a failed attempt to keep consumers from finding out that the secret ingredient in Coke is actually a cancer-causing version of caramel or something.

Piss Racer!

The battlefield of the Gods.

The Premise: Women, I will let you in on something; dudes like to turn everything into a sport of some kind. Taking a whiz, as it turns out, is no exception. When guys go to the john, they periodically like to pretend their hose is a six shooter, and the commode a carnival shooting range with a virtually endless array of attractions. Piss Racer would capitalize on this inherent trait in the male species, with Glass-generated “targets” popping up in urinals - - essentially, think of it as “Duck Hunt,” only instead of a bright orange zapper, you’re using your own junk. Alternate mini-games would use a force feedback app to measure the literal speed and PSI of one’s urine, which can be recorded and uploaded to an online “high-score” board. Select bars will hold “Piss Racer” contests, which will provide an immediate boon to both the beer and mop manufacturing industry.

Alternative Uses for Application? Clearly, the first-person perspective here would inspire two fields; one, it could be used by physicians for prostate exams and other urinary tract health check-ups, and two? Yeah, this thing is going to revolutionize the HECK out of the global adult film industry

Potential Software Drawbacks? Restaurants and speakeasies will ban the devices, since multiplayer contests would gum up men’s rooms from New York to Cali. And similarly? How many times have you dropped your cell phone in the toilet before?  By 2020, expect accidentally flushed Google Glasses to be the most common non-organic object lost in the nation’s sewer system network.

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