Google Glass shapes up
Google has released more details about its eyeglass-mounted display technology, Google Glass – and it looks like it may be available in a consumer form more quickly than the company first expected.
Google Glass is shaping up into a real product, and the company has confirmed that it will release it by the end of this year. Initially, it had hinted at a 2014 release date. The company is making early versions available to people willing to pay $1500 for a pair, but they are in limited supply, and to be considered, you have to live in the US, and make a creative Tweet that impresses the firm.
Google has published a video showing what it will be like to wear Google Glass. You will be able to share video and take pictures with it. It will include a GPS that gives you directions, and it will also push information at you related to your location. It is essentially a heads up display for your life.
This isn't the only wearable tech that we could see coming to market. Apple has already filed a patent for a flexible smart watch, indicating that it could get in on the action at some point. And there are several other companies floating ideas for their own wearable glasses.
For years, these kinds of wearable gadgets were restricted to specific industry applications, such as engineers working on planes that needed their hands free, for example. But now, it seems as though the technology is small, light, and functional enough to work in a consumer context.
Google is working hard to make this appealing to the person on the street. The tiny display will be detachable from the frames, meaning that you can switch it up with different eyeglass frames (and eventually with prescription lenses, too).
Google's FCC filings suggest that it will use inductive bone technology to make sound work in its Glass product, meaning that people don't have to wear headphones to listen to messages from their friends, or to hear the results of Google searches. This means that you can ask Google how to say something in French or Chinese, and it will give you the answer without you having to fiddle around with headphones or hold something up to your ear.
Ideally, we'd want to see some kind of augmented reality application in there at some point. The technology is there to have it superimpose a translation over words written in another language, right in front of your eyes. We have already seen this kind of application on smart phones, so it can only be a matter of time.
If any company can crack a new market with an entirely new category of product like this, it's Google. Glass looks like it has a lot to offer. Will you buy a pair if and when they become available north of the border?
Check out this in-depth hands-on account of using Google Glass from The Verge. Fascinating stuff.Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets