Robert Scoble: Context and Google Glass

By Adam Tinworth

24/04/2013 | Liveblogged notes from Scoble's talk at NEXT Berlin 

The new age is one where the number of wearable devices is going up exponentially. This stuff is coming. Many of these ideas are research projects right now, but soon fashion designers will be building these technologies in. The data we're collecting is going up exponentially - and we're finding new ways of building sensors into more things. It's more than the internet of things, its a building of context. We're seeing social network data going up exponentially. Location data - Google, Waze and Foursquare are all building data about our world - it's getting sharper resolution. 3D sensors like the ones in Microsoft Kinect are dropping in price as they increase in sensitivity. They'll be built into cars to detect if we're falling asleep at the wheel. Cars will know when you get into them.

We will be able to see everything around us. Über shows us the cars around us now - soon it'll be predictive enough to bring the cars here proactively when it knows a conference is ending. Google Now tries to get ahead of us, and warn us about things like traffic delays.

Audience.fm helps the music industry know its audience. Soon hotels will know when I walk in that I'm a regular in that chain elsewhere in the world. We'll know more about our customers.

Speakers will be much more customised to us. There's an iPhone calendar that looks for context around your appointments. These contextual services look at you and learn about you through your e-mail and other information, and then seek to help you.

$20 breath sensors now clip to your iPhone and tell you how much you've drunk. They can be used for drinking games - or to help barmen call cabs for drunk customers. Augmented reality is getting sharper and more interesting. Lego is using AR to show what kits might look like built.

Sensors will monitor our health. Blood sugar monitors will make life easier for diabetics. Qualcomm is building a device that can communicate with your doctor and allow her to monitor you remotely. Vintank monitors Twitter for wine mentions, and builds profiles of drinkers. Some wineries filter Instagram users onto different tours to make sure that have a visual - and therefore shareable - experience.

Google Glass

[caption id="attachment_22539" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Bruce Sterling tries on Google Glass at NEXT Berlin Bruce Sterling tries on Google Glass at NEXT Berlin[/caption]

Robert gave us a demo - as best he can - of his Google Glass. Key things:

  • The Google Glass battery is pretty small.
  • The microphone is pretty directional, to prevent people taking control of it.
  • He will never live another day without a wearable computer on his face.
  • Wants live tweets from when he's on stage and speaker notes in the glass.
  • There's relatively little technology in the glass - it's an accessory to your phone
  • The speech recognition is excellent - but there's a relatively small pool of commands, which makes it easier.
  • Battery management is aggressive - it switches off quickly
  • There's a light when you're recording video
  • Video eats the battery fast

He was questioned about the privacy, and especially how countries that are privacy-sensitive. They will be at a disadvantage. We are all in completion with each other all the time, for the best experiences.