Google Glass is going to help golfers fundamentally see the game differently.
While the highly touted wearable technology isn't available to the broader public yet, Google's Explorer program of tech-savoring consumers and forward-thinking developers are teaming up to give a preview of precisely what Glass can do to improve every day life in a practical way.
One of those forward-thinking developers in Paul Goldstein, who is the creator of GolfSight, which debuted in San Francisco at a Google event last week in San Francisco.
GolfSight is the first golf GPS application for Glass. It piggybacks on an app for smartphones called, SkyDroid - Golf GPS, which is a golf GPS app that retails for $1.99 and has been downloaded over 100,000 times on the Android platform alone. Because of the app's success, Google reached out to Goldstein to talk about taking SkyDroid - Golf GPS to Glass.
"As soon as I heard about Glass, I realized it would have great potential for golf," Goldstein said in a Friday interview.
With the data in tow, the challenge for Goldstein was developing an app that had a user experience friendly to a wearable instead of phone.
"Getting the UI (user interface) and user experience right was a challenge," Goldstein said. "The Glass team helped guide me quite a bit. The whole idea with Glass is not to get in the way of people's experience but to augment it. So we went through a lot of iterations with the flow of the app (glassware), to get it just right."
Augment; don't distract.
It's more than just a GPS app, however. It makes the golf round easy to share with friends in stunning fashion. GolfSight can create a Glass 'vignette' of their scorecard with pictures in the background, transforming numbers on paper into a memorable experience worth sharing.
Goldstein says it took him a few holes of playing with GolfSight to make the adjustment of using it instead of a handheld GPS unit or a mobile app. The adaptation, in his eyes, was all positive.
"With GolfSight and Google Glass, you can stay in the moment of the shot more, keeping your eyes on the course or your ball and not looking down at another device," he said. "So that becomes a real plus while golfing, because you become less distracted and it helps you focus more on golf."
Of course, when people hear about GolfSight, as I did, the next thought is to the potential for a feature that can read the greens for you -- almost kind of like the AimPoint technology Golf Channel uses, but for your own game and in real time. Goldstein sees the same possibility, saying it's something his company will look into, along with all of the feedback they receive from early adopters of Glass and his app.
In a broader sense, Goldstein thinks Glass will be great for golf, furthering the game's technological revolution. Golfers can get the data they need to play the game in real time, as well be able to see and respond to outside distractions -- like email and text messages -- without having to become an on-course nuisance.
Another feature golfers will love about Glass and GolfSight? The ability to create their own, real-time highlight reel.
"I think Glass is also great for sharing about golf with friends," Goldstein said. "It's great for snapping a quick picture of the course without having to dig out your phone."
He added, "If you're fast enough you can turn on the video in time to see your putt role into the hole."