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02/22/2012

Google Glasses to hit market by end of year?

Google is reportedly developing a set of glasses designed to bring its world of information straight to your eyes. The glasses, which are slated for launch this year, will beam information in front of your eyes, imposed on your everyday view of the real world.

491347e3a4941The system, said to resemble a pair of Oakley Thump glasses (pictured) would feature a low-resolution built-in camera that will see what you're looking at, and superimpose information on top of it. It will show you information about locations that you're in, along with friends of yours that are nearby.

It is easy to imagine the possibilities for the new system, which will reportedly be based on Google's Android operating system. We can expect to see the time and the weather report. But what about other information? Traffic density, the distance to the nearest Timmy's, and reviews of the restaurant that you're looking at across the street, could all be in the offing.

I'd love to see users in action using the navigation system, which will apparently use head tilting movements. That's going to look very strange on Toronto streets if this eventually takes off.

Google has already shown that it is capable of recognising real-world video and superimposing information on it, using its Google Goggles application. That can recognise text and then feed it through a Google translation system. It can recognise contact information and pull it into Google Contacts, and it can recognise landmarks. You can use Google Goggles to scan and recognise artwork, or to find information about a book just from its cover.

Imagine, then, looking at a sign in a foreign language and having it translated on the fly, in front of your eyes, without having to use a special app on your smartphone. Or looking at someone's business card, and having the information automatically extracted and beamed to your address book. 

But of course, there are privacy implications. What's to stop Google documenting everything that you look at with its camera? Or using facial recognition technology (which it already has) to automatically identify whoever you're with?

Once again, it's a balance between convenience and creepiness. 

Would you let Google inside your glasses?

Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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