By now you have likely heard about Google’s barges.1 These floating wonderlands have created any number of crazy theories 2 as to what they could possibly be from floating data center to plenty of even more absurd ideas. Google has now revealed that the barges will be places where people can experience new technology. This answer while helpful is almost hopelessly incomplete. Google has dozens of product lines that its Android operating system is on plus all of its own products like the Nexus Tablets 3. While these products are very likely going to be seen on the barges our prediction is that this will not be focus nor purpose of these barges.
Google is betting big 3 on their newest product Google Glass. Google Glass 5 is a wearable, voice activated, smart device that projects an image directly onto the users eye while simultaneously running a camera, and microphone. This device is designed to allow users to interact seamlessly with technology all the time. This takes the idea of “always connected” users to a whole new level. The Google barges are very likely a sort of controlled digital playground where users can interact with and experience Google Glass. The barges will allow Google the room to design a custom environment where users will be able to experience an augmented reality. Augmented reality is the technology that you don’t know you can’t live without. An example of augmented reality would be a user simply glancing at a business and seeing an image of their hours and current sales pop-up. These barges will allow Google to really flex its muscle and show off the true power of their new technology. There are any number of ways Google could execute this, but these barges are going to be where the first serious argument for wearable technology is made. Google glass has not been without controversy 6, but it is a game changing technology.
Beyond Google other companies are working on acclimating users with the idea of wearing their technology. This past year Samsung released their Galaxy Gear 7 smartwatch. There has been much discussion 8 about the impending launch of this smartwatch category with a lot of speculation about what Apple will offer up in this field. The Galaxy Gear, for all of its hype, landed with something of a thud 9 on the market. There are some major issues with the Galaxy Gear, not the least of which is its high price tag and need to be tethered to a smartphone to have any functionality. With that being said Samsung’s entry into this market ahead of Apple has allowed them time to learn about user expectations and usage patterns. It is highly likely that Apple will be launching a smartwatch in the next few years. These devices will take the phone connectivity out of users pockets and place it on their wrists. This brings user connectivity and expectations into a whole new field.
Whether the dominant product becomes a pair of smart glasses or a smartwatch is still uncertain, but the future is going to be populated with semi-permanent wearable technology. What this means for businesses is that users are going to expect that a company’s web presence will be able to adapt to these technologies and landscapes in ways that are intuitive and helpful. It is also going to force companies to be even more responsive than they have been. By placing access to the internet directly onto consumers, people will literally be plugged in all the time, which means they will expect companies to be plugged in right along with them. The new questions for the next year will be, is your mobile presence watch ready? Is it glass ready? Can users easily navigate your pages with voice commands? Or on a two inch touch screen? Each of these new technologies will present companies with opportunities to engage consumers where they are; at the cutting edge of technology. Wearable technology is the way of the future and consumers are expecting companies to be ready with their mobile sites before this technology arrives.
Social tagging: Google Glass > Mobile > Mobile Marketing > Mobile Search > Mobile Site > Mobile Websites > Smart Watch > Wearable > Wearable Technology