Mar 18, 2014

5 Ways to Use Google Glass for Good

I thought at first I'd be one of those people who would totally abandon my smart phone when I got Glass in the summer of 2013, but I've found Glass is more of a microwave for my phone and not a replacement, at least not yet. Here's why.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Wears Google Glass for First Tine
Glass is to a smart phone what a microwave is to a conventional oven. Glass allows the user to nuke information faster.  Instead of the dozen clicks it takes me to awaken my phone, snap a photo and upload it to a social site, Glass can do the same process in less than half the clicks. Because Glass still has to be tethered to my phone, I can't abandon my 'oven' just yet.

Here are five ways Explorers could use Google Glass to enhance someone's life.

1. Side load Google Sky Map. Take it to a Nursing Home or Veterans Home and let someone see the stars. If you don't know what 'side load' means, ask a fellow Glass Explorer in a Google Glass Community.

2. Volunteer for a Hero Tour that takes aging and terminally ill veterans to see their memorials.  Go to a location a veteran might want to see, join a Google+ Hangout via Glass and walk through their memorial live in real time. Recently, Veterans United used Google Glass to show Pearl Harbor Survivors the USS Arizona on the anniversary of the attacks.

3. Open a Hangout from your face and invite someone to experience Paris with you via Glass.

4. Volunteer to record a friend's wedding from the audience's perspective, a view the wedding videographer would not have been able to capture.

5. Share it.  Glass is the "model T" of wearable computers and people don't yet understand how to drive it. Every time I speak, host an event or teach a class, I wear Glass and allow other individuals to try it on. Most of the people who try on Glass, especially in other countries, have this reaction.

5. +1:  Don't be a "Glasshole". If the device is bothersome to people, consider taking it off. Be respectful of other people's privacy. They might not realize every time it's on your face it's not necessarily recording. It's your job to educate them how this wearable works.

What other ways are you using Glass for Good?

Oct 10, 2013

See-Commerce: 5 Ways to Open the Eyes of Your Business

Since I first experienced a Google+ Hangout more than two years ago behind the scenes of a TV newscast, I've been geeking out about how Human Media (social media + live video) could one day become a powerful attraction tool for businesses, journalists and consumers. Now it seems "See Commerce" is starting to be in Vogue, at least to the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Recently, Designer Rebecca Minkoff used Google+ as her runway and allowed the audience to shop for items displayed adjacent to a Hangout. Watch this experience of products being served next to live video:  Shop the Hangout 

"Shop the Hangout" with Rebecca Minkoff on Google+
Sarah, I'm not in the fashion industry.  Why should my shop pay attention to this?

1. See-Commerce has the potential to simulate a bricks & mortar storefront for your online business.

2. Studies like this one from the Scientific American show eye contact reduces hostilities online. (Human Media allows you to form deeper relationships with your customers reducing the likelihood of transactional one night stands.)

3. WebRTC (Web Real Time Communication) is going to make video calls easier for consumers increasing the likelihood that some customer service interactions will happen via the "video phone".

4. Using Hangouts creates "Google Nectar" for businesses that could attract more +1s in search.

5. In a future where personal recommendations will become paramount, you want to be close to your customers.  See-Commerce and Human Media are reducing the physical space between businesses and their clientele by placing people eyeball to eyeball on virtual real estate.

You might not be selling dresses but this latest experiment from Rebecca Minkhoff shows the possibilities when you add Human Media to your Social Media wardrobe.

Don't be the business still covering your eyes.  Not learning now how to dial the video phone could ensure your product will not be found.

Jun 2, 2013

Glass Cast: A Broadcaster's View of Google Glass

As I walked up the stairs to pickup my Glass at Chelsea Market in New York, I kept looking at my mobile phone like a girlfriend looks at her boyfriend right before she breaks up with him.  Would Glass mean the beginning of the end for my handheld device? I was about to test drive the Model T of wearable computers and couldn't help but wonder what would happen to my horse.

A receptionist showed me to my seat in a loft that looked like a swanky LensCrafters and asked me to choose the color of my device.  I chose "Shale" (Gray) as I wanted it to be more neutral on my face so it wouldn't be too much of a distraction during our broadcasts on the Veterans United Network. 

I opened a Hangout on my laptop so others could view the Glass fitting.  You're allowed to bring one person but Google didn't say anything about inviting virtual friends. My "Glass Guide" handed me a sturdy box filled with the Glass itself and accessories that came with the $1500 (plus tax) price tag.  Accessories included sun shades, clear shades, a cloth carrying case and a USB charger.  At the loft, there is giant row of windows. After my hour long fitting ended, I opened up my first Hangout using Glass.  As I climbed the loft steps to the skyline, I felt liberated being in a mobile Hangout without having to hold any device!  I showed people in the Hangout from Austria to Australia a view of the New York skyline directly from my point of view. Glass, you had me at hello.

I've been a "Glass Explorer" for 5 days.  What follows are my experiences with having the internet in my eyeballs.

Hands Free Hangouts

My mind is spinning with how journalists could use this hands free device to capture events live via Hangout. Glass is not currently compatible with Hangouts On Air that stream live on YouTube but a station's control room could easily route a Glass Hangout on TV with a scan converter. And to think +Jean Francois Desmarais lugged around a laptop with a mobile wifi to try to capture the riots in Canada via Hangout.  Can you imagine what he could have done hands free with Glass?

 On the way home en route to the airport (I flew up and back the same day.), I opened another Glass Hangout in a moving New York City cab.  To my surprise, Glass didn't lose the connection.  As I got ready exit the cab, I was going to stop the video call as instinctively I've always needed an extra hand to grab bags and exit the vehicle.  But since this Hangout was hands free via Glass, I realized I could continue communicating.  As I was walking through the airport with the Hangout still running, I got my first... "Is that Google Glass?"  Carrying on a conversation with people from around the world via a Glass Hangout and a curious traveler at the same time, all while walking through a busy airport, I realized this device will make video calls more interactive and mobile. Two additional power surges into the Human Media Movement

Glass Comes Home
I asked my teenagers who are impressed by little in the world what they thought of my new device.  "You look like a dork," said my son.  "But can I try it?" I put the Glass on his face and he was hooked.  He's 18 and it was like you handed a 2 year old his first tinker toy. This is the boxing video he made with Glass. It's like people are seeing their own hands for the first time.

Glass Backwards
My 15 year old daughter and I put together this Glass video.  She's a dancer and wanted to demonstrate what it feels like to do a back bend.

Oops I Did It Again
Be careful of how you set up your "sharing contacts" on Glass. For some reason, Britney Spears was the first one of my "sharing contacts". (Don't ask me why.)  The share button and the delete button toggle are closely tied with similar Glass gestures.  It's the difference between a temple click and a swipe.  If Glass thinks you're clicking instead of swiping, you've just unintentionally shared a photo with the first person in your sharing contacts.  I'd like to apologize to Ms. Spears and to the Dalia Lama who both got random Glass photos of my hands!

My office mates at Veterans United enjoyed trying on the device, taking pictures, sharing with Britney and by far their favorite feature was the Glass navigation system.  "Whoa," you could hear them say as they realized when they turned, so too did the map before their eyes.

Glass Support:  Why Can't I Add a Wifi Network?
The next day, I had trouble figuring out how to add a wifi network from Glass.  So I called the phone number on the box. Keep your unique Glass ID that's at the bottom of your appointment letter as you'll need that number for customer support. I dusted off my neglected handheld device and dialed the digits. Bart, a very patient and helpful Glass support technician, spent the next 20 minutes answering my questions and walking me through how to add a wifi network.  Hint: You can't add a wifi network on Glass while tethered to blue tooth.

My next Hangout on Glass was with a group of Blind veterans.  The group is learning how to make relay calls for deaf and hard of hearing individuals using Hangouts.  I hopped into their training session to say hello.  The former radio operators who are World War II veterans were fascinated with Glass and the ability to control a computer with your voice. Because of its voice integration, I could see Glass being helpful for individuals with sight impairments like these veterans as it would allow them to control a computer hands free with their voices. No, they wouldn't be able to see the display but with a further refined audio integration, who knows how Glass could enhance their lives.

My 1st Glass Cast:
Next it was time to test drive Glass during a live broadcast.  I always use a laptop on-air so I can monitor what we call the social "back channel".  People comment via Google+, Facebook and Twitter and then I read some of those comments live on the air.  On this day in an informal Q and A session about VA Loans, I introduced our viewers to the device on my face and introduced the concept of curating their comments via Glass.  I didn't have to bury my face in a laptop to read those comments.  I just swiped my temple.  Developers:  Please invent a tiny remote control or some other device that allows you to scroll through social media notifications without having to swipe your forehead. Yes, it kind of defeats the purpose of a hands-free device but for a broadcaster, it buys us time until swiping your forehead is as commonplace as looking down at your smart phone.

Next, I took Glass to "Art in the Park" in Columbia, MO, a display of artists, gardeners and musicians.  I got many stares. "Is that Google Glass?" I met up with fellow Glass Explorer +Aaron Fuhrman and let him try on my Glass.  This was his reaction.

June 13th Glass at the World War II Memorial
Our next formal outing with Glass, is a virtual tour for terminally ill or aging veterans.  These men and women, most served during World War II, are too frail to physically travel to see their memorials so for the last 6 months, Veterans United & Community members have set up digital displays for these heroes to experience their memorials via +Google+  Hangouts.  Virtual Photo Walks videographers have shown these veterans not just Washington, DC, but Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the USS Alabama and even the Beaches of Normandy, France, the site of the D- Day invasion.  There, a D-Day veteran got to see and hear the sound of the waves on Omaha Beach.  For our next tour, I'll be at the World War II memorial testing Glass to give veterans a unique, hands-free point of view. Wish us luck!  And if you know a veteran who is unable to travel to see their memorial, please contact me

I've had Glass for a total of 5 days and while I am spending a lot less time hanging out with my phone, it is still in the picture.  No big breakup planned but I'm really starting to like this guy.

Jan 1, 2013

Let Your Webcams Do the Walking: 7 Ways Business Can Use Hangouts in 2013

2013 should be the year you let your webcam do the walking..........
You've heard about the free mini TV station in the middle of a social network that allows you to broadcast to your customers. You've been meaning to host a +Google+  Hangout to develop a closer relationship with your audience.  What are you waiting for?  Here are 7 ways your business can use Hangouts On Air.

 Virtual Career Fair
1.  Free Broadcast Tower:  You don't have to be a TV station anymore to broadcast to your customers. Using free digital tools businesses not only have a broadcast tower on YouTube, they have a free production suite with multiple cameras embedded in a social network. Combine the ability to broadcast with the +Google+  crowd sourcing tool and every company is a media company regardless of whether you have call letters.  How will you use your free broadcast tower in 2013?

2.  Find New Customers:  In my opinion, it's not just the technology of group video chat that's unique but the webcam yellow pages to which that technology is attached.  Unlike Skype, Hangouts are embedded within a place where people are going for search and social. Google+ is like a global phone book now categorized by interests.  +Cliff Roth calls it a Virtual Trade Show and with the new addition of Google+ Communities, people now have a map to the booths on the showroom floor. You have your Veterans Community, your Broadcasters Community and your Real Estate Community.  You have the ability to find people who are interested in your product or service and develop a face to face relationship with them via Hangouts.  Realtors like +Carra Riley are now are even experimenting with hosting Virtual Open Houses via Hangouts. Hangouts are leading to a global de-spatialization of products and services. We are reducing the physical space between us and increasing our customer base.  Much like our fingers did with the yellow pages in the 70's, now our webcams can do the walking....

3. Classes:  Teach your clients about what you do.  Take +Yarn Mountain for instance.  +Christina Blount Presnell  has created a global, virtual Knitting Lodge. Even though her hip little yarn shop is located in Virginia, she crowd sources and finds global knitting enthusiasts via Google Plus and then invites them into a face to face encounter via webcam in a Hangout.  Recently, we brought in two of our IT guys to share with +Veterans United  followers how to Hack Proof their phones and computers. Find your experts and share their expertise. Some Hangouts called Hangouts on Air also stream live on YouTube if you wish. So if there aren't enough seats in your free virtual classroom (9 + the host), others can still watch it live.  The session also automatically records to your YouTube Channel.

4.  Office Hours:  An open Hangout is an open door to conversation with your future customers.  It's like a welcome sign in your window that says come inside and sit a spell on your Virtual Front Porch. Every weekday at 4pm Central, I host a "Virtual Front Porch" Hangout on the +Veterans United  profile just to meet people, chat with old friends and talk about everything from the day's news to new digital trends.  Don't know what to talk about?  Give them a behind the scenes tour of your office space or take your laptop on the road and open the Hangout from an interesting location in your community.

5.  Add Human Media to your Social Media Campaign.  The Human Media Movement and Hangouts are the new roots anchoring social campaigns.  No longer do you have to just interact with your customers via text based postings on social networks, you have the ability to talk to your customers face to face which is a deeper level of interaction.  It's real time, living breathing human media and it trumps chatting with a person's avatar.  As +Mike Elgan correctly points out, "Humans aren't designed to communicate with someone they can't see." These webcam interactions via Hangouts lead to a civility in communication and there's even science to back up the theory that people are nicer in person than they are on text based social media posts. You have to reason that phenomena also translates into a closer feeling with the people you interact with in person, even if it's via a webcam. On Twitter, people will say "I follow Sarah."  On Google+, they say "I know Sarah."  The difference?  Face to face interaction in Hangouts.  Do you want your customers to follow you............or know you?  Whom would you rather do business with?

"Face Time Generation" Video Chats in Sleep
6.  Improve Customer Service:  With video cameras now standard on many mobile devices and with the "face time generation" highly familiar with video chat becoming consumers themselves, more people will become accustomed to interacting with customer service agents face to face versus phone calls. No longer do you have to listen to hold music. You can watch a video about the company on your smart phone while waiting to video chat with the customer service rep. Just like a bricks and mortar business where a salesperson greets you at the door and asks "How may I help you?" the future, a sales person or a "video concierge" could greet you at the Virtual Front Door of your website and ask you via webcam "How may I help you?"

7.  Virtual Career Fairs: The emerging platform of Human Media is a powerful recruitment tool as it allows you to crowd source job candidates and interact with them face to face without having to fly a prospective employee to your office. +Veterans United recently hosted a Virtual Career Fair via Hangouts On Air where the company was able to interact face to face with out of state job seekers.  +VetNet HQ is also putting Veterans to work by hosting Hangouts that provide everything from resume writing seminars to fireside chats with employers looking to hire veterans.

So what's ahead for you with Hangouts in 2013?
I'd love to hear how you plan to use your free broadcast tower. Connect with me in my Human Media Movement Community or join one of my +Veterans United  Hangouts by checking out our Hangout Hub Page .

New to Hangouts?  There are lots of great communities to answer questions for newbies.  Please check out Hangout Rangers Community by +Mike Downes and +Billy Wilson 's Hangouts On Air Community.  Both are moderated by experienced Hangers eager to help you let your "webcam do the walking. "

Oct 29, 2012

The Human Media Movement

How Hangouts Could Change Our World  #humanmedia  

  • Reduce physical space between countries. Increase frequency of face to face communication
  • People in poor countries have ability to broadcast worldwide 
  • Lower the cost and barriers to education by Hangout enabling underprivileged areas.
  • Transform live news coverage to multi-part conversation with viewers on their smart phones
  • Reverse News Conferences where reporters ask questions virtually via Hangout
  • Virtual Tours for individuals who are unable to leave their homes
  • Virtual Tours as therapy for psychiatric patients
  • Group therapy for counseling sessions
  • Auctions take bids via Hangouts and Ebay offers "Hangout with the Seller" to ask questions
  • Websites have "Hangout With Customer Service" buttons 
  • Call centers have web cams
  • Car lots provide real time virtual vehicle tours to sell cars online 
  • Real Estate Pros provide real time virtual tours of homes and use G+ to crowd source clients
  • Hangout stations in retail aisles for price checks or customer service questions
  • Second Screen interactivity during TV programming
  • Second Screen interactivity during Sporting or Music Events
  • 911 Hangout Centers where 911 operators could virtually bring in an OBGYN to help a woman through labor.  
  • Hangout Hold:  Instead of listening to elevator music, enable customers to hangout with each other and watch funny movie clips while they wait. 
  • Drive-thru terminals where deaf individuals can read the clerk's lips
  • Bridal Shops equip fitting rooms with Hangouts so out of state friends can see a bride's dress. 
  • Face to Face Git hub Collaboration
  • Political Campaigning becomes Virtual Door Knocking via Hangouts

How do you think Hangouts could change our world?  Tell me in the comments below or in person in a Hangout weekdays at 5pm ET, 4pm Central on the +Veterans United Google+ profile.