I love the Google Glass interface and I think it should be everywhere.
This interface is similar to a blog in that the basic organizing principle is time. When you tap the side of the Glass headset or tilt your head up, you’re greeted with the “right now” screen, which literally shows the time right now.
Scrolling to the left takes you into the future (today’s weather, directions to places Google Now thinks you might want to go, today’s birthdays, today’s weather highs and lows, your calendar and at the very end, Settings for Glass).
Scrolling to the right takes you into the past. The first item you encounter is the last thing you did — the last picture or video you took, the last message that came in, that sort of thing. The second card is the next-to-the-last thing that happened, and so on into the past.
Each of these items, of course, is a “card,” which has its own behavior when you tap and drill down. For example, if you’re looking at a photo you took, taping the touchpad offers up the options to Share or Delete. If you choose share, you’re given people and Google+ circles, again in reverse chronological order from the most recently used.
The interface is wonderful because it’s highly compatible with human psychology. We tend to organize discreet events in our lives in terms of time, both future and past. The human mind loves linearity based on time. That’s why blogs and social networks are popular.
This, combined with voice, through which we can conjure up anything out of time sequence and thereby insert it into the timeline, is a truly great user interface, and should be on many devices.
Suddenly, Google is a major hardware company. And a surprisingly great one. But why?
I asked a Motorola executive involved in the Moto X project recently whether Google’s ownership of the company had any effect on their decision to get radical.
By radical, of course, I mean doing things no handset maker had ever done, such as make phones operate hands-free and build them to order in the United States for delivery in four days.
You’ll note that these and other radical attributes of the Moto X are options that would have been available to Motorola with or without Google. After all, the X8 Mobile Computing System that enables hands-free usage is Motorola’s, not Google’s, and was originally developed for Motorola smartwatches.
So why is Motorola suddenly radical now that Google owns the company?
The best argument for funding the space program is: “Because space, that’s why!!”
But for many this argument is pointless. They would prefer the money be spent to help people on Earth. And for those folks, the best argument is: “Space missions always invent numerous technologies that make life better for everybody.” NASA even maintains an online database/magazine called Spinoff to keep track of these technologies, which average about 50 per year.
A similar phenomenon is likely to happen with Google Glass, which is not only a wearable computing hardware device, but also a development platform.
I’m predicting that Google’s massively well funded moonshot, the beta product formerly known as the Google Glass Project, will bring to Android phone and tablet users incredible technologies, ideas, apps and content originally developed for Glass.
Your company and hundreds of others are engaged in an epic battle for the smartphone handset market, which within a year or two will exceed a billion customers and $150 billion a year in revenue.
Don’t you want a big piece of that? Because if you do, you’re not acting like it.
Samsung gets most of the market share and some of the profits. Apple gets most of the profits and some of the market share. But Samsung fears with justification that its lead is slipping away to lower-cost and more aggressive vendors. Apple’s momentum has slowed horribly with the onslaught of Android phones.
The rest of you handset makers — let’s face it — are scrambling for crumbs on the floor.
Instead of taking one of the known-bad losing strategies, why don’t you try the obvious winning strategy?
I’m going to describe the losing strategies, then spell out the winning one.