What with school, work, and other commitments, not everyone can manage a trip to Israel. But with the arrival of Google Glass, anyone can take a virtual trip to the Jewish state.
In fact, that is exactly what is set to take place next week, as seven families arrive in Israel as part of a mission sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America. The families hail from Seattle, New York, New Jersey and Washington, DC, and all will come equipped with Google Glass, the search company’s wearable computer that lets users interact with the web without the aid of a keyboard or mouse.
Using Glass, members of the mission will be able to broadcast their experience so those connected to them back home can share in their adventures.
Glass, Google’s next-generation Internet connection device, allows users to access websites, read mail, watch videos, and much more without lifting a finger. One can, for example, can keep both hands free to address a car problem, while wearing Google Glass and using a voice command to call up a video that shows how to fix the vehicle.
Google Glass isn’t available in Israel yet, so the Glass-toting individuals who bring their devices with them on next week’s trip will be the first group to broadcast their trip in this way. Members of the mission will visit the classic tourist destinations and send video of their experience over the Internet to a Google Hangout, where those in their home communities will be invited to join in and comment.
Among the activities that will be broadcast: a session with volunteer group Table to Table in which participants will gather fruit and vegetables for distribution to the poor and elderly around Israel; a meeting with Ethiopian immigrants in Safed; and a visit to the Western Wall right before Shabbat. The group will also tour Yad Vashem, Ein Gedi, Mount Scopus and other sites. Several young people with the group will celebrate their bar mitzvah ceremonies in Tzippori, with friends and relatives invited to the event via the Internet.
The group will also be recording its experiences on Facebook and Twitter — using Glass hands-free technology to post and tweet — for a complete social media experience.
“Ultimately, this mission is another example of Jewish Federations utilizing cutting-edge technology to engage as many in the Jewish population as possible,” said a JFNA official. “The Google Glass technology is still incredibly new, and this will be the first time many in Israel will have the chance to see it in action. This is a rare and unique opportunity, and one Jewish Federations is excited to be able to put it into action.”