Tim Pool, who broke ground with his citizen reporting from the Occupy Wall Street protests in late 2011, just got a fun new toy: The New York-based journalist started experimenting with live streaming straight from Google Glass this week. Pool’s setup is a bit of a hack, and the video quality isn’t great — but these early tests point towards an interesting future for Glass-powered live video reporting.
Pool started to play around with live streaming via Glass on Thursday, first showing off his desk at Vice, where he is now working as a producer, and then taking the setup for a walk around the block. It’s not very exciting stuff, and the video quality is pretty mediocre, but it is interesting to see things out of the eye-level perspective from which the Glass camera is recording.
Pool didn’t get back to me when I asked him about his setup, but it’s likely that his live streaming experiment has been made possible by GlassBridge, a new hack that lets you run plain old Android apps on Glass without rooting the headset. Pool then used the Ustream Android app for live streaming.
Google Glass currently doesn’t support Hangouts on Air or any other kind of live streaming out of the box, and video recording is by default limited to 10 seconds, in part to conserve the device’s battery. Users can easily opt to extend the recording time, but Google has said that the battery won’t support more than 45 minutes of video recording, and that it isn’t intended for longer recordings. In an FAQ, the company put it this way:
“There are many devices available on the market today for people who wish to record their entire day, but Glass simply is not one of them.”
Of course, mobile phones weren’t built with live streaming in mind either, but became a key tool in real-time citizen reporting during the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Arab Spring and similar events. Live streamers like Tim Pool have often used camera phones in combination with external battery packs for their reporting, something that should work with Glass as well.
And while Pool’s first experiments are still just that, early experiments, they definitely raise the question of how citizen reporters and journalists alike are going to use the device in the future to cover breaking events. Over at Mediashift, Sarah Hill is clearly excited:
“With the quality of video and live streaming increasing on practically a daily basis, Glass –- and other wearable devices -– will turn satellite trucks and bulky equipment into museum pieces.”
Pool’s video streams this week may be a first step towards that future.
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