Revolution in Modern Travel

What's It Like to See Israel Through Google Glass?

The Jewish Federations brought a group of 27 Americans to Israel this week to test out the new technology, hoping to spark a revolution in Israeli tourism.

If you were in Israel this week and spotted a group of tourists roaming the holy sites in goofy-looking glasses, you may have witnessed the future of modern travel.

With smart phones and tablets, Facebook and emails at every hour of the day, in every part of the world, it can be nearly impossible to disconnect and live in the moment. Traveling offers a safe haven to do just that: relax, take in the scenery, and enjoy the here and now. Including, one would imagine, on a trip to the Holy Land.

But maybe not everyone wants to disconnect.

Twenty-seven Americans came to Israel this week with the Jewish Federations of North America on what Paul Solomon, Google’s communications director in Israel, said was the first organized group to use Glass in Israel.

As an official Google Glass “Explorer,” trip leader Aaron Herman is testing out Google’s newest technology before its release later this year. And as manager of the missions department at JFNA, Herman hopes to spark a revolution in Israeli tourism.

What does this revolution look like? If the Israeli test case is any indication, it looks a lot like a bunch of tourists with no peripheral vision, muttering to themselves and fidgeting with their glasses. But in reality, what they're doing is using tiny Google monitors to ask for directions, instantly upload photos and videos to Twitter and YouTube, and live-stream video to their friends back home so they can see what they're up to in real-time.

To skeptics who say that you could do the same thing with a smart phone or tablet, Aaron Herman insists, no, you cannot. “This is the wave of the future,” he says.

Explaining how Glass is different from other gadgets, Herman reaches into his pocket, holds his phone in front of his face, and starts filming. To do the same thing with Glass, he just sits in his chair and tells the Google device on his face to take a video. You don’t even have to tell Glass what to do, he adds, if you want to be more discreet.

Pressing above his ear, Herman can snap a picture or film whatever he’s seeing – a good, if perhaps creepy, way to film without the people around him knowing.

AP