Smart Glasses Will Re-Envision Travel as We Know It

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A couple runs through an airport, anxiously looking at real-time flight updates via a head-mounted display. A man asks his smart glasses how to say "delicious" in Thai while using both hands to eat. Another man sees factoids about various landmarks appear in front of him while touring California's wine country with friends.

The future? Not at all: These are all things Google Glass can do right now, aptly demonstrated (in ideal fashion) in Google videos. These particular vignettes all highlight the potential for connected headgear — a.k.a. smart glasses — to augment how we travel.

Devices like Google Glass have the potential to create a brand-new industry of devices generically referred to as "wearables." At the same time, they could up-end other industries, travel probably being one of the most disruptable. Travel, by its nature, requires very specific information tied to locations — something web services have gotten very good at surfacing. Throw in the convenience of a wearable device, and it feels like a surefire winner.

The questions of consumer acceptance and usability are still there, though, and the answers will ultimately decide whether smart glasses go mainstream. But even if they don't, the category could carve out a niche for "power" travelers.


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