Should have gone to Manchester Art Gallery: Google Glass ‘experience’ sets sights on city’s tourism

Mancunians could soon be saying ‘should have gone to Manchester Art Gallery’ as a Google Glass experience might mean they will be able to enjoy a futuristic experience like something out of Mission Impossible.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to ditch chunky guidebooks or small reading notices and embrace a virtual glasses tour of the gallery.

The innovative experience, thought to be the first time the technology has been used for tourism in Europe, is part of a study by Google Glass creators in collaboration with Manchester Metropolitan University.

The research tested the way that Google Glass could be used to provide visitors to the gallery with information about the artworks they are viewing.

“We are identifying what would improve the visitor experience in Manchester,” said Dr Timothy Jung, who is head of the project.

“I think Google Glass is going to be huge in every industry because it’s a great tool for engagement and customer experience.

“For tourists, to have two hands free when they walk around the city with that device, yet still be receiving all the guidebook information in an improved format, it will be quite a different experience.”

So far three paintings at the gallery are now recognised by Google Glasses meaning people will be able to look at the pictures and experience additional information when looking at them.

This will include content given by text, spoken audio and even in song form.

They will then be asked to give feedback on the technology and whether it improved their viewing experience.

Plans are also in motion to test the technology on sculptures and see if it is possible to make the software recognise three-dimensional work.

The university’s Department of Tourism Management worked alongside Cecilia Abadie, of 33 Lab Inc, who was involved in creating the original software for Google Glass.

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