Google hasn’t announced an official retail release date for Google Glass yet but that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting excited about what Google Glass might be able to do! Here are ten reasons to get excited about Google’s intriguing new device this year:

10 Reasons to Get Excited About Google Glass in 2014

google glass medical

Healthcare applications

When it comes to the potential influence of Google Glass, there’s really no ceiling to what kinds of healthcare applications could be introduced. It’s already been used in a few surgeries over the last six months even. Whether it’s allowing surgeons to keep their eyes on patients (as opposed to constantly looking up at screens), broadcasting procedures for others to watch and study remotely or being used as a training device, there’s limitless potential for the application of Google Glass in and out of surgical rooms.

Navigation

One of the most lauded – and criticized – features of Google Glass is the integration of Google Maps. There’s no denying the usefulness of having live directions show up on the display when one is walking around, but the inherent distraction of having the screen running while one is driving (even if the small display is transparent) can be a worrisome thing – and in some states, has already stirred up a legal debate on the legality of using Glass while driving. But with some subtle improvements, like the ability to overlay directions on the actual road in non-obtrusive fashion – or looking farther into the future, a possible companion to their driverless car. No matter what avenue of travel, Google Glass can take navigating around cities and the world to a whole new level.

Glass in the classroom

There are already some educators enrolled in the Google Glass Explorer Program – and as schools begin to explore the potential application of this technology to the classroom, it’s already becoming clear how useful a device it could be. Forget using it as a screen for information: Google Glass could give educators and students alike the ability to see through each other’s eyes and understand what they’re learning – and how they’re doing it! Like any other entry on this list, there’s limitless potential. All there needs to be are some developers and educators to harness it.

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Smartphone connectivity

Another interesting arena Google Glass is attempting to enter is in direct competition with the trendy smart watch movement. That is, providing a second-screen experience capable of handling the simplest smartphone tasks (playing messages, reading and responding to texts) without having to take said phone out of your pocket or look at another screen on your wrist. Glass already has the ability to dictate texts and emails and the more developers tinker around with the Glass API, the more ingenuity we’ll see in how Glass interacts with smartphones and offloads some of their tasks.

In-home use

Smack dab in the center of the “connected home” technology gaining popularity at CES this year is Google Glass. Just imagine how useful it would be as a way to wirelessly control the temperature or determine how much electricity is being used in your home at any given time. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg on what Glass could do in the home. Setting alarms, streaming video from the television, remotely controlling garage doors and sprinkler systems… like most industries, there’s a limitless number of avenues to explore innovation with Google Glass.

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Google’s Past/Future UI

Taking notes from social media feeds, the Google Glass UI is built on an interesting philosophy: swipe left to see things in the “future” (like tomorrow’s weather, your calender, and alarms), or swipe right to go to the “past” – news headlines, Twitter, text messages, etc. Simple but well-organized, the on-screen UI of Glass isn’t revolutionary, but it represents Google confidence in their Glass philosophies. Hopefully this will be a harbinger of good fortune for Google’s future support of the product.

More hardware innovation

As Google draws closer to public release, it’s expected that the Glass will go through a few more hardware iterations before Google settles on a functional, affordable design to release to the public. But they’re certainly not going to do so by skimping on the technology. With any luck, the public version of Glass will go under some improvements under the hood in the next 6-12 months to ensure its internal.

The Glass Development Kit

The Glass Development Kit is the key to unlocking Google Glass. Like Apple’s API kit for iOS, it contains all the tools necessary to develop anything for Glass, from mini-games to navigation applications and anything else one might be able to think of. Already in the hands of many software developers, it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing what the most creative technical minds in the world have in mind to make Glass more than an impressive bit of physical technology.

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Prescription-friendly versions

For those who wear glasses (like myself), Google Glass initially appeared to be another piece of technology we’d miss out on. However, Google’s recently announced a partnership with eye care insurer VSP will help reduce the cost of getting Google Glass-enhanced prescription frames. There will be available a number of models priced at $195-225 (on top of whatever Google Glass will retail at), costing about the same or less as getting a traditional set of frame and lenses.

Widespread professional applications

Think of how useful Google Glass could be in a production warehouse, allowing workers to monitor efficiency levels. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the professional applications of Google Glass, from manufacturing, to agriculture (instant information on nutrient levels in a field’s soil, for example), to airline travel and the business world. The more Google courts third-party developers to integrate software with Glass, the more versatile and attractive their product will be to the professional world.

What innovations are you expecting Google Glass to bring to the table in 2014? Share your hopes for this new technology with us in the comments below!