I am proud to announce that Disruptive Legal Innovations now has Google Glass.
Google Glass will not, in and of itself, fundamentally change the practice or the business of law. But it will give rise to useful tools that make certain tasks associated with the practice of law easier and faster. Hopefully, I will be one of the first people who figures out how to use Google Glass in a way that improves my efficiency and effectiveness as a lawyer.
At bottom, Glass is a smartphone peripheral. To develop a useful tool for a mobile peripheral one must understand the strength’s and weaknesses of the mobile platform. The mobile platform’s greatest weakness is screen size. Its greatest strength is accessibility. Mobile devices make it incredibly easy to access information. But the access granted by the mobile device is useful only if the information is presented in a focused and contextualized manner. Glass accentuates the positive and negative attributes of the mobile platform. Through voice recognition and motion sensing technology it makes accessing information when you want it even easier. But users will not be able to browse or read extensively on Glass because its screen is even smaller than a typical smartphone screen. Nonetheless, I believe mobile legal research applications could be developed for Glass.
Mobile Legal Research
The app would not (could not) be used for full blown legal research. It would be used for quickly accessing and referencing legal authorities when (1) lawyers are away from the office and (2) do not have the answer to a specific question memorized. For example, how long does a party have to respond to a motion for summary judgment in the District of Kansas? You could look up the local rules for the District of Kansas on your smartphone. But that would be pretty cumbersome. A voice activated Glass application could allow you to search all the relevant response deadlines in a specific jurisdiction without taking your phone out of your pocket. Most importantly, the response to that question could easily be displayed on Glass’s small screen. I also believe that Glass, in combination with a smartphone, could rapidly and automatically locate and send case law to your e-mail account. I am not an expert on optical character recognition. But it seems like Glass could take photos of documents, scan them for legal citations and then send PDFs of the cases it recognizes to your e-mail account for future reference. Finally, I think it would be relatively straightforward to create an application that could locate and display the elements of different causes of action upon command.
Developing Legal Applications for Glass
“The Glass Development Kit (GDK) is an add-on to the Android SDK that lets you build Glassware that runs directly on Glass.” This means that you can leverage the usual android development tools to develop for Glass. I just started learning android development and am glad to know that there is substantial cross over between android development and Glass development. Please visit the following websites if you are also interested in developing legal applications for android phones or Glass.
As I always, I am interested to hear other people’s ideas. Mobile legal research is the first thing that came to mind when I started playing with Glass. But maybe there is another context in the legal world where an application powered by Glass would be extremely useful. Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.