Fidelity Investments has created one of the first investment apps for use with Google Glass, the small wearable computer from search giant Google Inc.
The app has a modest first goal: allowing Google Glass wearers to see quotes of major stock indexes after the market closes.
Eventually, however, the app could be used by Fidelity customers to perform more complex tasks such as looking up stock quotes and getting alerts about companies in their portfolios.
“We expect that this whole area of wearables will develop rapidly,” said Sean Belka, senior vice president and director of the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology. “If that’s where our customers are going, that’s where we want to be.”
Google Glass lets wearers view the Web through a tiny transparent rectangle mounted to the frame of glasses. It can also be used to take pictures, record videos, and look up directions, and is controlled by voice commands and hand gestures.
For now, the giant investment house is just beginning to experiment with Glass. It is seeking feedback from investors and early adopters to improve the app in anticipation that Glass and other wearable Internet-connected devices such as watches will gain traction with the public.
Also on Monday, Fidelity launched a Web portal for its research center, Fidelitylabs.com, to showcase its new technology and invite customers to comment on its latest innovations.
“Some of the ideas we explore are aspirational and may still be years away from everyday use,” said Hadley Stern, vice president of Fidelity Labs. “Others may be just around the corner.”
As for Google Glass, it’s still early days. Google has made the glasses available on a limited basis through a pilot program, with Fidelity and other organizations getting them through a developer project.
Google wouldn’t say exactly how many glasses it has made available. But earlier this year, it began distributing about 10,000 pairs to people and organizations that won a chance to pay $1,500 for them through its “explorers” program for testers.
It makes sense for Fidelity to be out front on technology for Google Glass, said Angela McIntyre, an analyst at Gartner Inc.
The type of consumers that Glass will attract are people who can afford cutting-edge technology and crave constant updates on information such as stock prices.
“It’s a core target audience for Google and also for Fidelity,” said McIntyre.
What’s more, she said, many big companies are seeking the tech cachet that comes with developing Glass apps, known as Glassware, while few people have access to the technology.
Many of the biggest names on the Web, including Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., have developed applications for Glass, and traditional media companies such as The New York Times and CNN have also released products for the new devices.
Fidelity is the first large investment firm to develop a Glassware application.
While the Boston firm is best known as one of the country’s biggest investment houses, in many ways it is also one of the area’s largest tech companies with thousands of employees focused on technology.
The firm was also an early investor in Google and has invested heavily in other tech firms such as Facebook.
“Clearly our job one is helping our investors,” said Belka. “But to do that requires a lot of technological innovation.”