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Cautiously Optimistic

Social media for better communication and a better life

Posts Tagged ‘google goggles

Google Goggles? I’m Waiting for the Contact Lenses

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Project GlassI try to keep an eye on the latest consumer technology news, since it’s probably more likely to have an impact on my life than the more esoteric sciences I come into contact with at my day job at a large research university.

So it’s been a lot of fun following the “Google goggles” story. The development team at Google Labs recently posted a blog and video on “Project Glass,” their conceptual project to bring the visualized, social media-enabled, mobile Web to everyone via a pair of special glasses.

There’s the professional, dispassionate, level to the story, where tech experts hash out how likely this is, when it might arrive, how good it will be, and the many implications for personal privacy and the dangers of distracted multi-tasking.

But on the other hand, I can’t stop imagining how cool it might be to walk around campus, connecting to a synthesis of the physical world and the location-based Internet, enabling my stream of consciousness in a way I never dreamed of.

My reveries usually end when I recall how much I dislike seeing people walking around with a Bluetooth headset in their ear all day, and I think with a shudder, “don’t go there.” I think I’ll feel better once Google manages to get their goggles down to contact-lens size.

Follow me on Twitter at @charlesprimm.

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Written by Charles Primm

April 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Time is Money, and Vice Versa

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Among the many catchphrases attributed to inventor, publisher, diplomat and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, one of my favorites is “time is money.”

The basic idea is that even though time is an abstract concept, it still has a real, concrete value. Usually, so the thinking goes, the more time you have, the better off you are.

Whole industries have arisen around time-saving products. The Franklin Planner time management system was reportedly based on Benjamin Franklin’s own personal system of keeping track of his days and his to-do lists. Smartphones now have time-management “apps,” and bloggers discuss topics such as the “5 simple web apps for saving time at work” and the “top 7 ways to save time on Twitter.”

Since humans do not (as of yet) have the power to lengthen the day, we all have the same 24 hours. So can we really “save” time? No. We are just shifting things around, doing less of one thing so that we can do more of another thing.

This is actually a wonderful development, because some actions are worth taking, while it is really, really nice to not have to do other things.

There is a great op-ed piece by Jon Barocas on Mashable.com that discusses the end of QR codes, the little black squares that you can scan with a smartphone and automatically navigate to a website or download other information.

The best part of the article is a YouTube video demonstration of Google Goggles, a potential successor to QR codes. Google Goggles is the search engine’s method of looking for information by taking pictures of something.

The reason I like the video is not so much because of the product demonstration, but because it illustrates how much of a time-saver the ubiquitous Web has become. Walking the streets of San Francisco, the narrator is able to access information that would have required the nearby presence of street maps, printed telephone books, library card catalogues, and old copies of Wine Speculator magazine. Yet he was able to get all of the relevant information streamed to his smartphone in time to have lunch.

So if “time is money,” the reverse is also true: “money is time.” If you have the money to afford a smartphone, you can use it to “buy” time that is then spent on lunch at some out-of-the-way Italian restaurant, rather than at the nearest library.

I am cautiously optimistic that Benjamin Franklin would approve.

Follow me on Twitter at @charlesprimm.

Written by Charles Primm

February 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm