How Can Historians Use Google Glass to Research History and Make it More Accessible?

split_taA month ago, my partner Tim asked me whether I thought we should invest in Google Glass. I asked him what Google Glass did and how he would use it.

He responded that he would use it mostly as a “toy,” something to play with on weekends, while on vacation, and at work with his coworkers. (He works for Google.)

We decided against it. But, his question intrigued me.

I had never really thought about Google Glass nor did I completely understand what it can do.

So I did what I always do, I conducted research to find out how Glass worked and what its capabilities are.


What Is Google Glass?

Google Glass provides a way to use your smartphone and still interact with the world.

Glass can take pictures and movies, send texts, check e-mail and weather, provide turn-by-turn directions, and post updates to social media.

You can also browse the internet and share real-time images of what you see with someone else.

The more I read, the more I wondered: Could Google Glass be a good tool for research?


Questions I Have About Google Glass as a Research Tool

  • How would the photo and video capture features of Glass enhance or ease historical research?
  • Google Glass LogoWould the ability to look up the context of a document, or object, while viewing it enhance our research experience?
  • How useful would it be to read a document, or view an object, and share it in real time with a colleague?
  • How useful and how accurate would visual translation be? Developers for Google Glass are working on a translation app that will translate the text you read into your native language.
  • How much faster can we conduct our research without having to fiddle with digital cameras or download images before we tag and file them in our databases?


Additionally, I wondered what kind of unique content could glass help us create that would make history more accessible and interactive?

I posed these questions to Tim.


Let the Experiments Begin!

We conversed about how Glass may or may not be able to revolutionize the way historians conduct and present their research.

The more we talked the more curious we became. So we took the plunge.

We purchased Google Glass.

Over the coming months I intend to blog about how historians can use Glass as a tool to research and present history.

I am in the process of setting up appointments with a couple of archives to get answers to some of my questions.

In two weeks, I plan to use Glass as I wander around museums and historic sites in Dublin, Ireland and London, England.

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Thoughtful-WomanWhat Do You Think?

What are your questions about Google Glass?

What would you like to know about Glass and what it can do?

Leave a comment or send an e-mail or tweet.