google glassesWhen I saw this, I thought it was another one of Google’s well-known April Fool’s jokes. But then I checked the date – nope, too late. Found it on 5 different major news sites – check. I guess Google glasses are real. But the world may no longer be.

Google glasses appear to be Google’s way to deliver what’s known as augmented reality. The idea of augmented reality is to view the real world – except more so: web content overlaying your view of reality. Ever try geo-caching? That’s kind of like augmented reality. It’s a set of data points that reference geographical, physical locations in real life, that is then accessible through a device. Google glasses take this one (or perhaps 765) step(s) further, making contextually relevant data available based on what you’re looking at and then adds in the interactivity of a social network. Pretty wild, eh?

I thought I would write a quick note about this on, because… it’s cool? And unbelievable? But also because it represents a big trend – that impacts the economy, jobs, and technology. Google’s crazy new digital glasses are not “just” about serving up more of their ubiquitous ads, this time directly into your eyeball… well, perhaps it is. But it’s something more as well. This is about the cloud coming to earth.

For technology companies, the past decade has been all about fighting for domination over the web. Facebook, Google, MySpace, Apple, Microsoft, etc.. have all been fighting for control of a user’s experience of the Internet. However, the next decade will likely be about something very different: control of how users experience the real world. This new battle ground is usually described by the computer-room seeping into the TV room. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all developing ways to bring the ethereal web to the very un-ethereal experience of lazing around on your couch. Now with services such as XBox Kinect being developed, they are also fighting over technology that allows users to operate in the real world through gestures and eye movements. See a trend here? Whereas 2010 was about “Gee whiz, I can work in the cloud,” 2020 might be more about bringing that cloud into every part of the real and physical world.

It seems like the most innovative and disruptive technologies of the next ten years will involve this intersection of the web and real life. Core technologies that enable these technologies, like the Android operating system that powers the new Google glasses, will of course be in hyper-demand (more so than even the chart shows below.)

No one of course knows which company is going to own this very nerdy future… but it’s clearly an interesting trend to watch – even if you do so only though the set of eyes that you were born with.

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