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Sports Applications Technology

The Player's Championship Gets Wired

May 12, 2014


Google Glass has proven to be one of technology's more controversial developments of late; while this new technology has been finding plenty of approval with businesses of all stripes, its appeal on the consumer level has been somewhat mixed. Yes, a recent one-day sale saw a run on Google (News - Alert) Glass units, but between the various bans on it in certain businesses and the potential for other laws to emerge, this technology is facing some serious opposition. But Google seems eager to try and crack open as many markets for this technology as possible. One new route Google seems eager to try is golf, and it's working with The Player's Championship to do just that.

Reports of this new move came in from unidentified sources, saying that Google's recent one-day sale wasn't Google's only sale of the device. Google had reportedly opened up sales at a booth at The Player's Championship, representing the first public sale of the device, at least in person. But those who bought in at The Player's Championship reportedly got a little something extra with that purchase: a small camera accessory that clipped onto golf clubs. Said mini camera was reportedly intended to help make it easier to capture live-action footage during the game itself.

Recent word out of Google suggests that the company isn't taking the various bits of negative feedback like bans from individual businesses and legal problems for Glass users lying down, and that the company has “...built our inventory back up...” with plans to “...accelerate new ways to expand the (Explorer) program in the weeks and months ahead.”

While bringing this out as a consumer technology has proven a bit risky due to the sheer legal pushback presented by the device—as evidenced by the recently concluded Cecilia Abadie case in which Abadie was tried on distracted driving-related charges while wearing Google Glass—as well as the aforementioned private business bans like those staged by the 5 Point Bar in Seattle, businesses have been pretty eager to take this technology on. Google's Glass for Work program has helped augment this, as an increasing number of businesses are finding value in Google Glass.

While golf might not be a business—though for some it's an occupation—it might qualify sufficiently to get some new interest going. After all, many of Google Glass' features might be particularly useful when it comes to golfing. The augmented reality navigation features so useful in a car could be a huge help in locating the green, especially on courses that are unfamiliar to the player. Other uses for this kind of technology, among many others, will be readily apparent at the upcoming FAST Expo, set to arrive July 22 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. A host of exhibitors will be showing off sports and fitness technology at the event and Google Glass itself is set to be a topic of discussion during the event.

Granted, this might be an unusually specialized use of Google Glass, but for those who play golf—commonly an upscale market—the added convenience may ultimately prove valuable enough to spur interest. But Google isn't letting grass grow under its feet, so to speak, and seeing just where Google goes with this new technology should be exciting to watch in the long run. The more markets it can bring online, the more likely it is to release the technology, and potentially even at lower prices as economies of scale contribute to the equation.

Edited by Maurice Nagle