Measurement in the Age of Context, Part 3: Face-to-Face with Google Glass

The box that Google Glass arrived inGoogle Glass arrived last month, looking remarkably like an Apple product with beautiful packaging and not nearly enough instructions on how it worked. But the good news is that a group of 20-something college students arrived few hours later and had it all worked out in minutes.

I have to admit that, despite mastering my first PC in 1982, introducing the first LaserJet printer to the world (Hewlett Packard, 1984), and generally being pretty far out on the rim of technology, Glass is both cool and a bit daunting.

I purchased it to better understand the implications that contextual computing will have on measurement.  The questions I want to answer are:

  1. If wearable devices are the future, what does that mean for PR and other communications professionals? I speculated here on the potential implications for internal communicators. But what about corps com, marcom, and the others?
  2. What are the implications for measuring “earned” media?

Katie Paine wearing GlassGoogle already has a patent on  “pay per gaze” which would use Glass to track eye movements so Google could charge advertisers for gazes rather than impressions. Glass also has the capacity to track off-line gazes such as at billboards and other ads. But what happens to earned media in the process?  Is a “gaze” via Glass just a better “impression?” Or does it constitute engagement? As usual the advertising and marketing folks will probably figure it out long before the PR people do. Given the importance of native advertising and content creation/curation, measurement will only get more complicated.

Will Glass kill the sentiment star?

I can see one view of the future in which wearable devices essentially do away with the need for sentiment analysis all together. If your wearable device can tell where you are glancing, it can also tell whether your heart rate is going up or down, whether you are falling asleep or dashing to work. Ultimately, it will probably know whether I really feel that the product is wicked good or just wicked.

Will voice recognition change how we measure word of mouth?

Instead of asking people what they are aware of or what they are talking about, or doing some form of text analysis to accomplish the same thing, wouldn’t it be simpler to just listen in on their conversations? Glass and Siri are already just sitting around waiting for us to say something. What if they could be programmed to listen for certain words, phrases, or brands? Come to think of it, couldn’t we just tap into the NSA databases and get much better data on what people are really saying about your brand?

Privacy? What privacy?

Some of these scenarios may seem creepy, but, as a society we have already proven that in exchange for convenience we are more than happy to give up a great deal of privacy. Is it really so hard to imagine that, in exchange for a free wearable computer, you’d be willing to have it pick up and transmit a bit more of the data you are already broadcasting on a regular basis?

These are just my initial thoughts having worn Glass for just an hour… Watch this space for more. ∞

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Katie Paine

I've been called The Queen Of Measurement, but I prefer Seshat, the Goddess.