Watch out smartphones and tablets, 2014 is going to be the year of wearable devices.
Dr. Paul York, a computer and information sciences professor at Georgia Regents University’s Hull College of Business, predicts a surge in sales in this year for smart watches and Google Glass, lensless frames equipped with a processor and transparent projection screen above the right eye. The eyewear responds to vocal commands and lets users take and share video and listen to music.
“I think this will be the year we look back and say this was the beginning of a whole new computing paradigm,” said York, who built a social media simulator for his doctoral study, which analyzed how the Web influences gas usage.
York believes the technology will lead to social media enthusiasts developing new ways to capture and share information from a first-person point of view.
“Users will have the ability to consume content in real time, which I believe will allow them access to a whole new wealth of data in an unobtrusive way,” he said.
As a result, experts say consumers can expect “augmented reality” applications – those that use computer-generated sensory inputs to let users post real-time views or images of their actions – to skyrocket in popularity in the medical, military, automobile and handheld media fields.
“The social media service that is poised for the most incremental growth is Google Plus,” York said.
The GRU professor said the two main strengths of Google Plus are photography and its “Hangout” feature, which lets up to 10 people take part in a video conference for free through its Web site or mobile app.
“The reality is most of the world is moving towards an app world,” York said. “Desktops – and even laptop – sales are plummeting while tablets and smartphones are soaring off the shelves.”
York said he is doubtful of some prognosticators’ claims that MySpace is back. Instead, he believes Instagram and Snapchat will get bigger.
“I would be dubious,” York said of MySpace’s resurgence. “Not that it’s impossible, but it would be difficult to overcome what has become kind of the joke of the Internet.”
York said if MySpace is going to make a comeback, it will have to do so in a significantly different form because it has lost a lot of its user base.
The findings of a survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project released last week show 73 percent of online adults 18 and older use a social networking site of some kind.
Facebook is still king, with 71 percent of online adults on the network, up from 67 percent one year ago.
Pinterest saw the biggest spike in 2013, jumping from 15 percent of online adults to 21 percent and passing Twitter (18 percent) in the process. LinkedIn is second at 22 percent, while Instagram grew from 13 percent to 17 percent.
York said Google products should capture a larger stake of the industry in the future.
“They’ve put a lot of effort into integrating their services,” he said. “That convenience will only help them grow bigger and faster.”