Glass Journalism USC Annenberg innovation course Wed, 25 Mar 2015 00:52:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Trying Glass Genius Tue, 09 Dec 2014 08:05:06 +0000 Glass Genius is available as an APK that can be sideloaded on your Glass device.  To sideload apps, use the following instructions:

To launch the experiences, use the following voice commands or select via the menu on Glass:

Ok Glass, Show Me the News – Launches our speed-reading news app with a sample list of articles

Click to view slideshow.

Ok Glass, Find a Video – Launches our POV video explorer with a series of short videos shot #throughglass

Click to view slideshow.

Ok Glass, Recognize This – Launches Glass Genius, our audio knowledge engine.  See a list of keyword matches that you can try saying while using Glass Genius.

Click to view slideshow.

Download the Glass APK Here

  • Works on Glass firmware XE22 or Later
  • Requires a reliable data connection for best performance

Download the Phone Companion APK Here

  • Optional; allows you to view the cards shown in your Genius feed on your phone as well
  • Works on Android 5.0 or later

Don’t have Glass? No problem. You can still take a look at the collection of POV videos.

Through the eyes of… Tue, 09 Dec 2014 07:57:43 +0000 We have all wondered what it is like to be someone else. We asked musicians, artists, and athletes to wear Glass so we could live a minute in their lives. But you don’t need Glass to enjoy them. Experience them here.


Olympic Gymnast




Salsa Dancer



If you have Google Glass, make sure you load up our app and experience these POV videos: Get Glass Genius

Infographic: The story of Glass Journalism and Glass Genius Sat, 06 Dec 2014 05:46:38 +0000 This infographic, by Yuting Su, visualizes some data about the development of our Glass projects, with a focus on our user testing of our major app: Glass Genius.


Launching Glass Journalism Wed, 03 Dec 2014 06:11:48 +0000 After 15 weeks of researching, developing, testing and learning, we’re ready to showcase the diverse projects the innovative, first-of-it’s-kind Glass Journalism class produced.

Join us this Saturday, December 6 from 2PM to 5PM at the new USC Annenberg building for our final meetup and public launch event.

Come test out our Glass Genius app, experience our collection of POV stories and experience a new text-based storytelling format on Glass.

In addition to the USC students that took the class and developed the projects, a Google Glass team will be joining us – demoing the hardware and answering your Glass questions.

We’ll have snacks, drinks, speakers and knowledge to share.

USC Annenberg building
3630 Watts Way, Room 106,
Los Angeles, CA 90089


First reactions to the app that we’ve been building Wed, 03 Dec 2014 04:54:09 +0000 We’ve all been in a room with someone we want to impress. A prospective employer… or, say, a cute biology major we want to go out with. We want to appear smart, talk to them about what they want to talk about, while coming across as well-read and sophisticated.

Only one problem.

We don’t know jack about biology. Or finance. Or Ebola. We’ll swallow the awkward silences and desperately find a way to change the topic.

The app that we’ve been building hopes to change that.

It’s a “real-time audio knowledge engine” that hears a conversation and adds contextual information by displaying cards on Glass’ prism.

2014-11-18 20.00.30We call it Glass Genius.

The ultimate goal is to build an encyclopedia of informational cards for different topics like finance, economics, business, medicine, television shows and so on. But for now, as a proof of concept, we’ve built one for the Ebola coverage.

If you’re stuck in a room talking to someone about the latest Ebola news, almost anything you want to know about the topic will pop-up to enhance your knowledge of the subject.

When we began this class more than 12 weeks ago, our biggest challenge was to build an app that would utilize Glass’s uniqueness to its fullest potential and at the same time aid people better their everyday lives. We chose Glass Genius because it allows us both these things.

After building it for weeks, we finally got a chance to user test the app with people outside of the class. We got interesting reactions ranging from, “Knowledge is now a buzzword away” to “felt like a robot.”

Almost all of them were excited when the first card came up during the conversation. Almost everyone agreed that the app has great potential and liked the way it personalized information. They also gave constructive criticism about the amount of text in the cards, fonts, images and the speed of the cards. Some of the users were wearing glass for the first time and their discomfort with glass also influenced their reactions.

Overall, we got to learn a lot from the experience and are working on making changes before we get ready for the final launch. We hope you continue following our journey.

We’ve taken the users feedback and made some tweaks and now we plan to roll this out at our launch event Saturday, December 6 at USC Annenberg. Join us to test out our app and some other projects we’ve been working on. Details here.

Here, Let Me Show You: 5 ways to get better Glass videos Tue, 02 Dec 2014 16:38:20 +0000 As part of our semester-long Google Glass project, we have been thinking of different POV scenarios we would love to see Google Glass used in. Since the last time we’ve posted on here, the class has thought of a lot of different people that could film with Glass. Just to name a few: magicians, baristas, painters, equestrians, hair stylists and more.

But filming with Glass is not as simple as handing over Glass to a skilled artist or magician and letting the Glass magic work itself. Rather, there are a number of different things to keep in mind when filming with Glass. Here’s a list on some of what we’ve learned so far:

1. Be concise about instructions
When you first launch Glass, you, the main user, gets the benefit of going through the helpful introductory tutorial for Glass. However, the person you’re filming with does not get the same introduction when they’re first presented with Glass. Instead of trying to explain every type of functionality to the person, keep it brief. Tap to get to the menu, tap for the video and tap again to extend the video and tap when you’re finished. Your star won’t be confused by any extraneous instructions — a couple of tries, and he or she will easily get the hang of recording videos with Glass in no time.

Photo Oct 24, 11 33 57 AM

2. It’s all about the hands
It’s undoubtedly cool to see through the perspective of a master magician or a skilled drummer, but if the person’s hands aren’t in the shot, a lot is taken away from the video. It’s important to make sure that the hands stay in the shot because it’s difficult to tell what the subject is doing otherwise. It might be awkward at first for your star, but after some practice and perhaps some adjustments to Glass itself, getting the hands in the frame becomes much more of a natural process.


3. Lighting, lighting, lighting
Because you don’t have much control over a lot of elements when filming with Glass, sometimes certain things can get in the way of a perfect video. Lighting is definitely one of them. When you’re filming, do a test run of the area where your star will be filming his or her POV and see if there are any places that might have excessive light or are too dark. Surveying the area where you’re about to film will save you many retakes.


4. Act natural
For a lot of the people we worked with, it was their first time experiencing Glass, much less filming with Glass. If you let them film without any prior instructions, the footage might come off as a little stiff and awkward, making the fact that they’re filming with Glass very obvious. The purpose of the footage is to make it so that viewers can seamlessly experience the day in the life of an artist or athlete. Before letting them film, brief them on acting as if they were going about their usual business. If they’re still having some difficulty loosening up, give them more time to get comfortable with Glass.


5. Don’t take it too seriously
Have a little fun. Yes, it’s understandable that you want to do everything in your power to get the perfect video, but if you treat the whole filming experience too seriously, you probably will get uninspiring and unexciting footage. Glass is an exciting product, so make sure that your star has fun with it. It will make the whole production a lot less monotonous.


We’re still learning lessons as we continue to film more POV videos with talented people, but we’re getting better now that we’re a little more familiar with Glass. If you have any tips on how to refine videos with Glass, share with us in the comments below.

Time to beta test our Glass app Wed, 12 Nov 2014 05:41:52 +0000 Sign up and help usertest the beta version of the Google Glass projects we’ve built!

We’ll meet on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH from 6:30PM to 8:50PM.

If you want to participate, please select your available times below and we will follow up with your assigned time. We’ll meet in the new USC Annenberg building (3630 Watts Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089).

Your feedback will be incredibly valuable.

Thank you in advance for your help! And please feel free to pass this form along to your friends!

Help us: If you could be someone else for a minute, who would it be? Thu, 06 Nov 2014 23:55:36 +0000 If you could experience the world through the eyes of another person for a minute, whose life would you pick? A graffiti artist? A Teppanyaki chef? A Barista? An Olympic champion? A Basketball player? A 5 year old?

A taco seller in the Grand Central Market wearing Glass to share his experiences. Photo credit: Sara Clayton

A taco seller in the Grand Central Market wearing Glass to share his experiences. Photo credit: Sara Clayton

It’s the eleventh week of the class, and we’re well on our way to building a cool app (come to our meetup on 18th November to know what it is and how it works!). Parallelly, we are also creating stories that Glass is best suited for: first-person, point-of-view videos.

We’ve learned that Glass can create truly immersive video experiences and we want to harness its potential to create powerful stories.

Our team has been having a lot of fun brainstorming ideas and contacting people from different walks of life for their POV stories. We came up with drummers, artists, chefs, sportsmen, firefighters, policemen, band orchestrators and many more.

Sara Clayton from our class took a tour of the Grand Central Market and got a taco seller to wear Glass to record his world while making tacos. She also placed her Glass on a Barista to capture the designs he creates on a cup of cappuccino.

Barista wearing Glass. Photo credit: Sara Clayton

Barista wearing Glass. Photo credit: Sara Clayton

Professor Hernandez took Glass when he went for his haircut and had his barber record his point of view.

Several of us are pursuing other stories and teaching people to record their stories on Glass (And we’ve had amusing consequences. Watch the video below.)

But we also decided to invite those from outside the class to pitch us ideas of POV stories we should try to capture.

Write in the comment section below us about whose shoes would you want to walk in for a minute.

Let us know if you know someone who does cool things that you want the world to see. We’d love to hear your ideas and work with you to help you produce the piece.

Meetup and an update Wed, 08 Oct 2014 04:49:47 +0000 We’re blazing through the semester and moving quickly through the development process. As a class, we’ve decided what kind of app we want to build (more on this later), and now we’re working hard to create and assemble our respective pieces of the puzzle.

Deciding what to build wasn’t easy.

Our public meetup was a big success – we had a full house waiting to hear our pitches, and all the ideas were solid. Everyone in the class pitched at least two ideas, which ranged from full-fledged apps to something as simple as a feature. After voting three times each for our favorite pitches, a minor problem emerged. Our votes didn’t indicate a clear frontrunner that we all rallied behind. We essentially had a three-way tie.

Click to view slideshow.

Over the next week, we split into groups to create more detailed pitches for the top three ideas: a location-based app featuring user-generated content, a multimedia package creator, and a real-time audio knowledge base.

After our second pitches, we voted again. Still, we didn’t have a clear winner. Each team made a good case for their chosen application – some fleshed out the idea with prototype cards and one group even brainstormed possible app names.

We want the app to be inclusive. We want it to enhance the journalistic offerings on Glass but also to have broader applications – something everyone can use. So what did we decide? We decided to keep features from each of the top three pitches to create an app (or apps!) that does all the things we want: create shareable journalistic content, contextualize it, and fetch content based on audio cues.

The next steps are already underway. Developers are testing the limits of the Glass hardware and building out a system to support the content that the journalists will develop in the coming weeks. And the “Misfits” (an endearing term, really, for those of us who defy classification) are wireframing and standardizing the way we present our content on-screen.

We are shooting for another meetup in November where everyone can test our work and give us feedback. Thanks to everyone who came!

The Good and Bad of Glass Tue, 07 Oct 2014 06:10:39 +0000 After all of us explored Glass for 48 hours, the class got together and brainstormed about what works with the device and what doesn’t.

For starters, we had varied experiences based on whether we had iPhone or Android phones or used it during the day or night. We also felt that there’s a learning curve to getting comfortable with Glass that we had to overcome. Based on our discussion, we put together this extensive list.

First the good

Glass is a unique wearable with potential to disrupt the future of storytelling.  Here’s what we liked:

Quick Access: During his pitch presentation, one of our peers, said, “The biggest difference between a smartphone and Google Glass for me is that your phone is in your pocket and you’re wearing glass on your head.” With Glass, we can capture moments as they are happening – no more fumbling through pockets to find the smartphone, no more wasted time turning the camera app on. Just say, “Ok Glass,” and “take a picture.”

Hands-free experience: Imagine browsing through a recipe while cooking or talking to another surgeon while operating. A hands free experience opens up a world of possibilities for multitasking.

Less distracting than a regular camcorder: With Glass, after a few minutes, people forget they are being videotaped and start being themselves, said filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty when he visited our class. For journalists, this is a huge opportunity to get people comfortable and open up.

POV (Point of View) story telling: Some stories, no matter how well reported they are, have much better impact if told from a character’s point of view. Glass is arguably one of the best devices we have to do that.

Hardware/software highs: Glass syncs seamlessly with an Android phone and works really well in the Android environment. Some of us using iPhone had a lot more trouble tethering our phones to Glass. The tiny 5 Megapixel camera takes really good quality photos, given the right lighting. It’s also got great speech recognition, intuitive web browsing experience, and lots of sensors like nudge, wink, head recognition, that elevate the hands-free experience.

Now, for the Bad

Though Glass has several advantages, it has a lot of areas that need significant improvement. Since it’s a relatively new device, it still lacks some basic features and needs hardware upgrading.

Battery life/Glass heats up: It’s really hard to consume or shoot video to Glass’s fullest potential with the battery life it has right now. One of our peers tried to record videos at a concert. He recorded 18 minutes before his battery drained out. Chaganty and other glass explorers say they carry external battery packs in their bags all the time. Video consumption on Glass is very limited also because it heats up just after minutes of video recording or shooting. All this limits hands-free multimedia usage on Glass, one of its biggest advantages.

Screen on the right side: It takes a while for everyone to get used to Glass – it’s heavier on one side and needs adjustment if you’re wearing prescribed glasses already. But, it poses an even bigger problem for the few of us whose left eye is dominant or have a longsighted right eye. Since the screen only on the right side, some of us can have very uncomfortable experiences.

Socially distracting: Glass is intimate. So if a message pops up on its window, it’s hard to ignore, unlike in a cellphone. We can turn individual apps off when we don’t want to be distracted and turn them on later, but that’s a cumbersome process. Ideally, there needs to be a way to opt-in and opt-out of Glass.

Wait till we say send: Though Glass’s natural language processing, or NLP, is pretty good, some of us had awkward experiences. Professor Hernandez said something that translated to “my sister’s pee.” Right now, we have to panic and specifically cancel the message before it automatically sends it. But what if it was the other way around? Glass has to wait till we say send before it sends the message?

Organizing content: Outside of the linear cards system, where all content is organized chronologically along one timeline, there’s not an ideal way organize, browse or retrieve content. Glass is meant to go along with phones, tablets and other devices, but still not having any system in place can be uncomfortable. On other hand, its minimalism is what makes it so light. This is a con up for debate.

Shaky videos: With Glass, the wearer is the tripod and human tripods are the worst of the lot. At best, videos are stable for 2-3 seconds per shot. There’s no feature to stabilize video quality.

Lacks context awareness: While wearables sync with the phones, they don’t divide their jobs. If the phone rings, the wearable rings too. If a message pops on one, it pops on the other too. Mostly, a user is using one at a time, so lack of context awareness is distracting.

Camera terrible at night: The camera is terrific during the day, but takes very poor quality pictures in the night.

There are other positives and negatives we discussed as well. The class generated this list: