Since the first consumer desktop was released, it’s been a never-ending race to create the most portable computer. Over the past 30 years, we’ve gone from computers that you carry in a backpack, to computers you carry in your pocket. This year, Google will be releasing a new product that may eventually complement the smartphone for quick data access.A little back-story.Recognized by Time Magazine as one of the best inventions of 2012, Google Glass aims to be one of the first consumer level optical head-mounted displays on the market. Running on Ice Cream Sandwich, it offers many of the features you may already be familiar with in Android. The navigation is done through a combination of voice commands and swiping gestures on the frame of the glass which, given some practice, lets you navigate quickly. Visually it’s modeled after the display used in Google Now, but with a focus more on context sensitive events. Instead of having a half dozen cards on screen at once, it will only display one card at a time. The developer version of Glass comes with some basic applications to get you started. It can perform google searches, take notes, shoot videos, and make phone calls. 3rd party apps quickly popped up to allow for receiving many social feeds as well.Here at PrimacyWhen we received our development kit, we knew what must be done. Like many offices, meeting space is in high demand. An inside joke around the Primacy office is that we try to make our conference room system as high tech as possible. We took this as an opportunity to wire our conference rooms up to Google Glass and hit two components – reserving a room and making it more high tech.The app allows a user to ask for a conference room for a set amount of time, or just ask what the first available room is. Glass will then connect to our outlook calendar and see what the status of a given conference room is. In this case it’s our big conference room off the right side of our Farmington office.This is a simple example, but trust me, we already have much more interesting ideas in mind. The main thing to remember is that whatever applications or ideas for applications you have, they should be context sensitive to a specific task or place. You shouldn’t try to recreate a smartphone app for Glass.Limitations/DrawbacksLike any new device, work needs to be done for the user interface. There’s a somewhat steep learning curve that even technical people encounter before they’re able to use the device. Also the voice recognition can be a little flakey at times, requiring app developers to code for different interpretations of what the person says in order to function. There’s currently no support for prescription lenses, but that’s expected to be implemented by the time consumer models are ready to be sold.ControversiesEven though it’s still under development, some bars and movie theaters have already preemptively banned the use of Glass. For these locations, it revolves around the ability to take recordings. States with strong anti-texting laws have also added “head mounted displays” to the list. I don’t see this as entirely unexpected. As smartphones became popular, similar concerns were raised. Some of the more practical bans (such as recording in movie theaters) stuck, while others were forgotten. Certainly none of this slowed the adoption of smartphones by consumers, and I have to think the same will be true for Glass.ConclusionThe first version of Glass is rumored to cost $600, which for early adopters is a reasonable entry point. In order for it to gain appeal outside of the tech crowd, it will need to solve some of its UI issues as well as get some “killer apps”. That being said, it’s still an excellent time to start thinking of uses for Glass for your business. A good use for Glass will capture tech savvy audiences along with generating good publicity, and put you in a very good position once it does become more popular!