This article by OPP Connect editor Adrian Bishop was originally posted on OPP Connect.
The Google Glass “smart glasses” are going on sale in the United States on Tuesday, April 15, as rising interest is being shown by property professionals around the world.
The high-tech eyewear costs $1,500 (almost £900) and is on sale for one day from 9 a.m. EST to over-18s living in the United States who fill in an online form. It will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis as part of the Explorer scheme.
Home tour created with Google Glass by Ariana Rios of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based Mainstreet Realtors.
Google Glass is a computer that is worn like spectacles and is being used by agents to show overseas clients who are thousands of miles away aspects of a property that they would otherwise not be able to see. It displays information like a smartphone and can communicate with the Internet using voice commands, so it can be used to improve property searches and conduct neighborhood tours.
James Dearsley, a U.K.-based technology expert for the property industry who founded the Digital Marketing Bureau, tells OPP Connect that there is growing demand for smart-glass technology from property professionals around the world.
“I am seeing a lot of interest in the use of Glass in the property industry. Really there are two applications; firstly the augmentation of reality and the ability to superimpose images streamed through Glass over the top of your general perspective — imagine seeing 3-D buildings on skylines that aren’t actually built yet — and the more general, and in my opinion more applied and relevant use for this moment, the live streaming of properties through a first-person perspective.”
Smart Glass applications mean buyers can have personal tours of property in great detail by instructing the viewer to see and test items in the property.
“Considering the busy lives that we lead, not to mention the prevalence of overseas buyers looking at the U.K. to purchase property into their investment portfolios, viewing of properties is often quite tricky. Giving them the option of live virtual viewings through Glass, or other wearable eyewear (some of which are already commercially available), is potentially a very attractive option. Having a first-person perspective of the property and directing their “viewer” to turn on the taps or open the wardrobes opens huge possibilities to more personal tours and an increased likelihood of purchase decisions remotely.”
Google says, “To discover new places, sometimes we need to leave the map behind. And that’s what Glass Explorers do. They are the first to make, to tinker, to create, to shape, and to share through Glass. We’re expanding little by little, and experimenting with different ways of bringing new Explorers into the program.”
The present cost of Google Glass is putting some buyers off, as they believe it will fall as the technology is introduced and used more widely. But others want to take advantage of being “early adopters.”
“Glass has to be relevant, it has to appeal to the general market, and I personally believe it will be more an evolution rather than a revolution. There are fantastic uses for developers now and I encourage them to investigate the software providers that support its application, but it will change and evolve quickly. Exciting times, indeed.”
Florida Realtor Lucas Lechuga, who has trialled Google Glass for few months and uses it in his business, says, “I don’t wear Google Glass all the time. I use it as a tool. I think it is an effective tool, but it needs to be used in conjunction with other tools, such as websites, social media and blogging.
“The neat feature that I love about it is its ability to shoot video hands-free. You can shoot video with your smartphone, but it is very difficult to do when you are touring a property and opening up closets.
“What I love about Google Glass is that I can do so. I can open up refrigerators, I can open up drawers, and I can show the property detail, unlike I could when carrying around a cellphone.
“I also use it when driving my car. In Florida we have a lot of second-home buyers and a lot of foreign buyers, so for me to educate people about a neighborhood while driving is great — and you definitely shouldn’t be driving while shooting video with a cellphone!”
U.S. agents are already providing Google Glass tours of U.S. homes, as the tour of a Diamond Bar, Calif., home by Mainstreet Realtors, above, showed.
Evan Kypreos, editor of technology website TrustedReviews, believes $1,500 is too expensive for something that has very limited functionality at the moment, but points out that Google is targeting early adopters to understand how to further develop the product.
When Google Glass was first tested in 2013 through the Explorer program, Google sold 8,000 devices.
It is thought that U.K. developers may be given access to the device, which can be worn on its own or adapted to fit prescription frames and sunglasses, as early as next month, making it the first country outside the U.S. to gain additional prototypes.
For full details of the Google Glass sale, go to: http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-to-get-one/.