Where the magic happens

#throughglassAs if one inspirational day wasn’t enough we kicked in today with a nice Google Glass hack-a-ton. Todays program was as packed as a black fridays fashion shop or One Direction last performance (wished that were true) ticket venue. In the morning we got some inspirational speeches from our Google Glass prophet @Rhymo, conceptional thinking afterwards and after the lunch we started programming for the Glass. Around 4 o clock we had to deliver working code, so not much room left for error. I will give a glance at how the day went down, but most importantly what I picked up and learned from it.

First I must apologise myself for posting a vanity Google Glass photo. I mean the only selfie I would ever make is when I would do a split between two rolling Volvo trucks. But this gadget, this thing, glared at me with his sexy prism eye. Asking me, no, begging me to take a picture. So again, I am sorry.

But back to today. As I said the goal was to make some working prototypes for NU.nl. A tough nut to crack. I mean pick your average day app and translate it to something without touch events, click events and pixel real estate of one Nokia 3310 and stick it to your eyes 24/7. So we were forced to grab a blank canvas (actually a black canvas) and started drawing some ideas. Back to the user, back to what he wants, what he really needs. Relevance was the keyword.

During the speeches I picked up something that sticked in my head: “Learn from your user. Get to know him.” As if he is your friend. How do you get to know him? By knowing what he likes, wants and needs. So no unfiltered push messages, no can of news messages.

To learn from your user, you need data. Most likely private data. In order to get this data you have to give something in return. As @Rhymo mentioned in exchange of data you have to give some magic in return. Think of buying a ticket to Disney and the magic whenever you exchange your ticket for entrance into the park. Google with location based data and the magical service of travel information in Google Now.

So we thought of something that would trigger the user and be relevant to him in his familiar places or on the go. We came up with NU Alert a service on which you could subscribe yourself to and get notifications based on your location. Not only on your current location also your home or work whenever you are not there. Think of notifications like explosions around your neighbourhood, released poison gas in a city you were planning to visit or missing persons (kids) at your location. Only relevant notifications.


By going blank canvas you are forced to go to that creative spot where you should be everyday. Also the more restrictions you get, the more creative the solution will be. And the funniest thing is that every concept could easily be used into one of our existing apps or websites.

We had a hard time setting up our first ‘hello world’ project in Google Glass, but once we got there we relatively easy created some nice features into the Google ‘card’. At the end of the day we demonstrated our prototype(s) and were presented in one of our first Google+ Hangouts.

I am proud to get something working (I was programmer for a day) and thankful for the opportunity to work on something cool as this. But mainly I think we should be personalise more and bring more and more relevance to our services and news.

And next time I’ll show someone around and say: “This is where the magic happens.” I will point at NU.nl.

Anyone interested in the Hangout check out the Youtube video below.

  1. Magnificent web site. Plenty of useful information here.

    I’m sending it to some buddies ans also sharing in delicious.
    And of course, thanks to your sweat!

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