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Google Glass project tackles poverty, other real world problems


Image from charity: water taken with Glass

It has flown over San Francisco, adorned the faces of runway models and most recently taken a road trip across the US. Now Google's already iconic wearable computer is taking a more altruistic journey with five non-profit organizations. Starting today, a small selection of Google Giving partners will begin using Glass to help them achieve their organizations' missions and "tackle some complex challenges." It's unclear exactly what the groups will do with Glass, but Google says they will use the device in their daily work to "bring more transparency to philanthropy, and close the gap between donors and the people they support." Participating organizations include The World Wildlife Fund; Samasource, which offers enterprise data services to poor women and youth; Give Directly, an organization with a web-based solution for connecting donors to individual households in Kenya; the all-purpose youth-focused Do Something!; and charity: water, which concentrates on clean water initiatives.

Still in early development, the device's cost and lack of functionality have proved prohibitive, and a few socially inconsiderate early adopters have inspired the term glasshole. While Glass is hardly in need of a PR facelift, the Giving Through Glass initiative should shed some light on the wearable's more practical applications.

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