Google Glass users who want to keep up with the Gaza rocket attacks on Israel can download a new Glass app (“glassware”) that sends attack warnings as they are issued by Israeli security officials. Similar to apps like “Red Alert: Israel” for smartphones, the new Glass app pushes siren alerts, providing a visual notification of where and when a warning siren is going off.
The new service comes as most of Israel comes under rocket fire by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza. Rockets have reached as far north as the outskirts of Haifa. Israel’s unique “Iron Dome” defense system has brought down most of the rockets headed for populated areas, and casualties have been further limited by Israelis racing to bomb shelters or protected areas, given from 15 to 90 seconds by the alert system to reach safety.
The Google Glass app adds another layer of protection. “The alerts will provide the (predicted) time and location of the attack, giving Israeli Glass users time to head for shelter,” said Barry Schwartz, CEO of RustyBrick Software, author of the app and a pioneer in Jewish and Israel-oriented Google Glass apps. “Be it bomb shelters, safe rooms or covering up on the highway as they drive home from work, this app will allow them to get notifications of those missile attacks so they can seek shelter.”
Glass is Google’s next generation Internet connection device, allowing users to access websites, read mail, watch videos, and much more without lifting a finger. Glass brings the Internet directly to the user. For example, they can keep both hands free to fix a problem in their car, while using their voice to call up a video that will show them exactly what they need to do to get their vehicle running again.
Schwartz’s most popular Glass app is Jewish Guide for Glass (formerly JewGlass), which pushes contextual, geographic-aware, and time sensitive data directly into Glass wearer’s line of vision — informing wearers of things like prayer times, where to find kosher eateries, what or what not to recite while praying in synagogue, and Sabbath start and end times. When it’s time for the afternoon prayer, mincha, for example, the app tells users where the nearest synagogue is, showing a map and providing directions (driving or walking) on how to get there, and displaying the appropriate prayer (no need even to pick up a prayer book) — all delivered automatically via push technology, as the Glass is contextually aware of where you are and what you want.
RustyBrick is one of the leading developers of ‘Jewish’ apps not only for Glass, but for smartphones in general. Among the company’s offerings is a fully annotated English translation of the Babylonian Talmud for iPads and Android devices, with English translation by the Mesorah (ArtScroll) publishing house, and its latest app, Minyan Now, lets users find or create a minyan, a prayer quorum of 10 Jewish males, anywhere at any time of the day.
Jewish Guide for Glass could be the first of many “Jewish experience” apps, said Schwartz. “We could have an app that would look at a package and see if it was kosher, based on the ingredients, or one that could give you information on the supervising rabbi. We could also do automatic Hebrew and English translations — for example, we could do a visual translation of the Bible or Talmud as a person was reading.” Those platforms and databases already exist, thanks to the English translations of the Talmud and Bible, and Google Translate. “Putting together an app that draws on these sources wouldn’t be too difficult,” Schwartz said.
For now, though, in addition to finding synagogues and kosher restaurants, Google Glass users in Israel may find themselves running for cover after receiving a rocket warning in front of their eyes.