The Google Glass Interface is Awesome and Should Go Everywhere


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.

Where I’d Like to See the Google Glass Interface

I would like to see Google Glass built in to all kinds of visors, goggles and glasses. For example, it should be built into motorcycle helmets, with a touch-screen on the side of the helmet and a microphone inside. It should be built into scuba and skydiving masks.

But more than that, I could easily see the Google Glass time-based cards interface taking over as the main system for car dashboards, ATMs, bathroom mirror devices and other places where you want information to come to you in smaller chunks that can be easily and intuitively found.

Of these scenarios, the car dashboard is especially ideal for the Google Glass interface, especially if Glass itself is banned, as it has been in the UK.

Imagine getting in the car and up pops the Google Glass interface on the screen. The car guesses where you might want to go for one-tap turn-by-turn directions. As you drive around, Google Now pops up reminders and suggestions (don’t forget to pick up your dry cleaning coming up on the right!)

Incoming messages could be popped up and with a voice command, you could ask the dashboard to read one. You could reply with a voice command.

If you went to a specific burger joint two weeks ago, you could scroll back in time to find those directions again.

Another killer place for the Glass interface would be Android phones! (Yes, some have ported the UI to phones, but these are not-ready-for-prime-time kludges.)

Imagine if the lock screen was a full-featured Glass interface, with the time displayed and ready to receive voice commands. It would be like the Moto X interface, but with forward and backward scrolling through pictures, videos, messages and Google Now cards.

And, of course, Glass would be ideal on a smartwatch made by Google — or made by some small startup using Google’s Glass interface and services.

Best of all, as you move between Glass interfaces — the one in your car, the one on your phone and the one on your face — each reflects the actions of the other. That message you saw pop up on the car also appears on the phone.

What Google Should Do

My hope is that Google Glass is like the Moto X phone in the sense that it’s a leading proof-of-concept device for a platform that’s open for everyone and anyone to use.

The Google Glass user interface, with connected services and app ecosystem, should be Google’s third platform (after Android and ChromeOS). Yes, I know it runs Android. But the UI itself is a separate apps platform, and should be treated by Google as another operating system to be used by others.

People wonder whether Google Glass will be mainstream. I’m on the fence about that question myself. But the Google Glass UI should absolutely go mainstream. And it will be if Google lets it.

The Google Glass should become the default interface for everything in our lives that’s not a PC or tablet. How cool would that be?