Google Glass In Travel Industry 1

Google Glass – the Next Big Thing in the travel industry?

In 2012, Google announced plans to create what many considered to be the next and logical step for mobile devices – interactive glasses known as, err, Glass.

This week, Google unveiled a new video inviting the curious to experience “how it feels” to wear Glass.

Now, the fundamental questions are: Will people REALLY wear this gadget? What will be the adoption rate to make it a success?

Glass is entirely different from most other tech gadgets created so far (aimed at consumers), simply because it sits ON the face – users have to WEAR it to experience it and use the services.

Some things to bear in mind:

  • Who knew people would use fingers to operate a mobile phone instead of traditional stylus? But, it happened through iPhone.
  • Who knew people would happily put a tiny device in their the ear to communicate, despite looking like Secret Service agents? But, it happened through hands-free Bluetooth.
  • Who knew people would use a ten inch-sized gadget to take photographs when digital cameras were simultaneously shrinking in size? But, it happened through the iPad/Android tablets.

People adapt, technology evolves.

Google is not alone, of course. Electronic and software giants Apple and Microsoft are also reportedly working on head-mounted display (HMD) and glass devices respectively (Apple’s patents related to HMD:  OneTwoThree. Microsoft’s patent – Here).

Nevertheless, the latest clip from Google illustrates precisely why a device such as Glass could have such a fundamental affect on the travel industry (maybe not this year or next, but at some point):

1. Maps

Users no longer have to key-in destination addresses or pitch-zoom a map to see accurate directions. They just talk to the glass and the directions are shown within the view. Let’s face it, directions cannot get any better.

Google Glass In Travel Industry 1


2. Augmented reality-powered search

This feature is going to be very useful for tourists. Travellers can shun the guidebook to look up details of a location, information appears right in front of the eye. And, in the blink of an eye, users can also photograph what they see.

Google Glass In Travel Industry 2


3. Flight related updates

Your flight itinerary details, real-time update on delays, directions to gate, time it takes to reach the gate – all such information will be available in Glass.

Google Glass In Travel Industry 3

But, that’s not all. The initial version of the video also included Calendar and Google+ integration (inevitably).

Given the fact that Google’s penetration into travel industry is deepening, it’s evident that there might be more features coming up in future that relate . There is no reason why Google would not bring its entire suite of products into Glass by seamlessly integrating all of them.

Initially, travel companies do not have to worry about Glass. But, once the adoption rate is high and the momentum kicks in, travel companies have to give a serious thought about how their products and services feature in a Glass environment, both from a content and functionality perspective.

Travellers might,

  • start expecting Glass to be a default gadget in hotel rooms (like the way iPads are expected now)
  • want to be given a Glass to explore about places when they are on a group guided tour, rather than giving an audio guide device
  • use Glass as the in-flight entertainment system (needless to mention that tablets and Playstations have already become a part of in-flight system)

Probable future use cases of Glass in travel industry:

  • Hotel & Flight search: Ability to do (Google’s) flight and hotel search in Glass. Apart from just pulling the flight/hotel search widgets, Glass also has the potential to show the list of hotels in the city / street that a user is currently in. This takes the usage of Glass to a whole new level. This also means – Hoteliers should list their hotels in Google Maps, mark the correct latitude and longitude and ensure that the hotel gets listed in Google Hotel Finder.
  • Real-time discounts: When a traveller walks in a street, Glass has the potential to show various discount / deal options available at a hotel, restaurant, museum etc. Google Offers might be integrated to achieve this feature. A next step to this would be to make the deals personal, depending on the customer’s previous buying pattern and knowing more details about the customer.
  • Google+ goes big: Without any doubt, Glass will be deeply integrated with Google+. With Google Local (part of G+) already growing and Google+ becoming even bigger, Google’s adwords revenue is going to further shoot up.
  • Passbook in Glass: Apple brings up relevant tickets (flight/movie/concert) on user’s iOS device depending on the location of user. This entire experience can be delivered on Glass.
  • Google Now in Glass: Google Now has features that can show the nearest photo spot and nearby attractions to a place. Given the fact that Glass can identity user’s location, there are enough reasons for Google to integrate these features in Glass.

Above are few of the probable use cases that we could think of. With ever changing technology comes ever increasing cost. From a travel company’s perspective, Glass is a new gadget to watch out for.

Consumers will soon start moving away from being “mobile-savvy” to “glass-savvy”. That paradigm shift is not so far. What this means to you as a business is to plan (budget) for these changing consumer and market behaviours.

Marketers should start thinking from now about leveraging Glass and the time of launch to promote their airline/hotel property/cruise line etc. There is significantly high scope for innovative marketing here.

For example: Recently, released a video in which a person skydives from a plane and lands on Lake Tahoe. During the free-fall he pulls out his mobile, opens the mobile app of and makes a hotel reservation. The point demonstrated was – before he landed on the ground, he completed a hotel reservation. This campaign was to show the SPEED at which customers can make a reservation in mobile app.

Now, the same concept can be executed using Glass?

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail to someone
Karthick Prabu

About the Writer :: Karthick Prabu

Karthick was general manager for Tnooz in Asia until September 2014.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Mark A

    We are busy building some great Google Glass travel tech. Having said that, a lot of what we want is’nt available yet.

  2. Janette

    I think it’s fantastic! Due to my disability (I’m paralyzed from neck down) I have to do an extraordinary amount of research regarding the accessibility of various venues. Many places claim to be wheelchair accessible, until I arrive in a large power wheelchair that cannot be folded up or lifted up a few stairs to access an otherwise open floor plan. The ability to wear something that is voice-activated and doesn’t require somebody else to press the buttons or keys for me would increase my independence exponentially.

    I thought it was great when I got my GoPro and could take pictures and videos just by wearing the camera on my head! Even that, however, requires that somebody else turn the camera on and off for me. Imagine my ability to show other wheelchair users in real time hat the access to a specific transportation mode or hotel looks like.

    • Karthick Prabu

      Karthick Prabu


      Thanks for the comment. Agree with you on the practical usability of Glass for wheelchair users.

      I strongly believe this is just version 0.1 of Google Glass and its going to evolve big in near future as the other biggies MSFT and AAPL are also into Glass based projects.

  3. Valyn Perini

    For a good giggle, check out OpenTravel’s video produced in 2001 about the future of travel distribution. We predicted Google Glass 12 years ago 😉

  4. Monish

    Superb Article KP, really nice… Keep writing and educating passionate travel industry folks like moi.

  5. Michele De Vito

    Great….It was just a matter of time until this technology would be availailable. When I read about “Glass” for the first time, two words popt right away in my mind: “Strange Days”..1995!!
    However, this new project has one quite huge “weak-spot”….PRIVATE SPHERE. How does Google, and anyone wearing these glasses, make sure that anyone’s private sphere caught in the angle of vision is being preserved?

  6. Vikram

    Technology is not based on cynicism and always move forward! I am sure that Glass will come and will stay, however the way we use it will have to be sensitized to the world; much like jaywalking or mobile usage in public places.. This definitely is a remarkable development and moves us closer to the Iron Man / Star Trek glass effect..
    The aesthetics need to be improved though and i am sure Google is working double time to take care of this already. Else, as someone suggested, this could end up making people look like Robocop ..

  7. Sanjay Malik

    Hay….this is indeed something amazing…Never even thought of this before…….

    But still….something to keep in mind.

    1. Antiques are always more valueable than modern. So traditional methords will prevail…… If not for anyone else….for me definitely.

    2. I have been there……and it was almost 100% like being there……there is a huge difference between these two sentences.

    With best regards,

  8. Robyn

    Very cool stuff……but…….where does security and privacy come in to this?

    There are so many places cameras are banned so will we see wearing glasses be banned as well? And what of privacy laws? And protection of children in filming? Unless its deliberately hidden, it is easy to see if someone is carrying a camera. But Glass will just be someone wearing a cool pair of glasses.

    Google had the issue of accidentally filming people when they were filming for street maps and had to blur them out. Did they not learn from that?

    So how are they going to deal with these issues?

    • Karthick Prabu

      Karthick Prabu


      Valid points. Security and privacy are going to be a concern for sure. There are some countries that has banned some of Google products (Streeview car was banned in Bangalore;, youtube and other services banned in China) already for various reasons.

      So, we will have to wait and see how the market responds to Glass from security / privacy perspective.

  9. Brannon Winn

    I can imagine flight crew getting passenger information based upon seat configuration and flight manifest! This would be a fantastic personal touch if the esthetics weren’t so RoboCop!

  10. Pete Meyers

    …and here all I’ve been worried about is getting responsive design to work well with my site.

    I think it’s hard to envision what practical utilities will truly take off with Glass. I don’t think the answer is simply a transfer of iPhone-type apps that activate and respond with a blink of an eye, but rather something much different.

    Instead, some variation on local discovery tied into Google+ combined with a rabid app developer base seems probable.

    Still wonder if the product will be rooted in sufficient design and fashion to overcome what I’ll call the “Segway fanny pack problem” to truly become a new era in personal, wearable computing.

  11. Kevin O'Sullivan

    Worth bearing in mind that in addition to all these consumer uses, there are a lot of interesting uses for airline and aircraft staff. Wearable computing for workforce will be significant trend over next few years.

  12. Mike Premo

    Anybody know if I have to get a prescription version of Glass if I wear corrective lenses? Or do I have to get contact lenses? Doesn’t look too friendly if you already wear glasses…

    • Kevin O'Sullivan

      @Mike – no, prescription versions are not currently available.

    • Fred Marshall

      Mike, google glass currently has no lenses. It just sits on your face. So if one doesn’t need actual glasses, or if they use contacts, you’re fine!

      However, I’ve heard rumors that google is working on putting something together that will allow those with the need for corrective lenses to use it as well. Possibly something that mounts to the current eyewear that you have.

      This technology is going to be amazing!

  13. meg nolan

    This is fascinating. Forget mobile version, it will be about glass versions of sites. I just hope the technology doesn’t have an embargo on it and google shares.


Newsletter Subscription

Please subscribe now to Tnooz’s FREE daily newsletter.

This lively package of news and information from Tnooz’s web site provides a convenient digest of what’s happening in technology that drives the global travel, tourism and hospitality market.

  • Cancel