HEADS-UP for Google Glass

Synchronized Annotations In Google Glass for Television Re-watching

KP Singh,

Shawn Wu, Sharon Lee, Takara Portis. Advised by Prof. Janet Murray



Long-form TV dramas have become increasingly complex, sending viewers searching online for additional information and motivating them to re-watch episodes. Providing notes with second-screen companion apps can be helpful but is often distracting. Google Glass offers a model of a delivery platform that does not require looking away from the TV screen.


design questions


Q1: Can we provide synchronized commentary without creating a distraction?

Q2: What is the optimal length of a comment for this platform?

Q3: How best to show comments that point to specific areas of interest in a scene?




We tried to find prior work done in the following areas:

  1. Low intrusion of Primary Screen
  2. Specific timestamp or synchronization
  3. Up voting and down voting annotations


We found the following prior research work:

  1. Teixeira, C. A., Melo, E. L., Freitas, G. B., Santos, C. A., & Maria da Graça, C. P. (2012). Discrimination of media moments and media intervals: sticker-based watch-and-comment annotation. Multimedia Tools and Applications,61(3), 675-696.
  2. Basapur, S., Mandalia, H., Chaysinh, S., Lee, Y., Venkitaraman, N., & Metcalf, C. (2012, July). FANFEEDS: evaluation of socially generated information feed on second screen as a TV show companion. In Proceedings of the 10th European conference on Interactive tv and video (pp. 87-96). ACM.
  3. Abhishek Nandakumar, Janet Murray. . “Companion Apps for Long Arc Tv Series: Supporting New Viewers in Complex Storyworlds with Tightly Synchronized Context-Sensitive Annotations,.” In TVX ’14: 2014 ACM International Conference on Interactive Experiences for TV and Online Video, 2014.


Comparison of antecedents with our design goals



prototype Features


Heads-Up allows the interactor to simultaneously view the TV screen while receiving synchronized commentary through Google Glass’ translucent screen display rather than be distracted by looking at a computer, phone, or tablet.

The comments will appear solely on the Google Glass and will point out key plot points that may have been missed during the first viewing. The experience is visually seamless and does not distract from the scene.

Our demo focuses on a famous scene from HBO’s highly acclaimed series, Game of Thrones, which has a lot of characters interacting with each other with obvious and hidden agendas. 

Annotated screenshots are shown When the viewers must direct their attention to a particular area on the screen to understand what is happening. Notice the red circle indicating the point of interest in this part of the scene.

If watching a TV show with a friend who has not seen the episode yet, Heads-Up will not spoil the plot since all comments appear on the Google Glass screen that only the interactor can see.

Double tapping while a comment or annotated image is being shown up votes the comment to show how helpful it is. This data in turn can be used by commentary curators to provide even more helpful comments.


A storyboard we used to guide the process of making our demo video for Heads-Up. Sketches drawn by  Sharon Lee .

A storyboard we used to guide the process of making our demo video for Heads-Up. Sketches drawn by Sharon Lee.