Google has finally revealed details of their rumoured augmented reality Google glasses. Since February we have been hearing rumblings of a secretive project being done by Google at one of their closely guarded engineering facilities; Google X.
Google X is, of course, a secret lab in the “unexpected” bay area of Mountain View, California. This lab is going about trying to tackle 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas. If you were to imagine this laboratory it would probably be pretty close to a mad science experiment. Robots are apparently a heavy feature of the lab with a lot of the ideas being conceptual and a long way to go before fruition.
However robots are something that everyone there (a large majority from the prestigious M.I.T.) can get behind, with talks of fleets to help capture data and individual robots to help in the home and work. But the augmented reality glasses that have been recently produced are what everyone is talking about now.
Named “Project Glass” the concept of the augmented reality glasses have been introduced by a YouTube video shared through a post on Google+ where the Google X team (anyone else seeing geeks in xmen t-shirts?) are quoted as saying:
“A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.
Please follow along as we share some of our ideas and stories. We’d love to hear yours, too. What would you like to see from Project Glass?”
Currently there is no release date that has been issued for when it would be open for public consumption or any clue of how much it could cost. However from the video it is quite clear that it is a threat to the smartphone market or to look at it from another angle, a glimpse at the future of smartphones.
The video depicts a variety of 14 services that might be available when the product is released including appointments, phone and location information. From the video it appears that the device is both a visual and an audio device which is hands free controlled by eye movements and voice recognition.
The initial report from The New York Times suggested that it would be released later this year with a price tag between £150 and £400 pounds. But some experts suggest that the technology implied in the video may be a while away from being a market-ready product.
In my opinion the design of the product may require it to be taken back to the drawing board as it promotes the functionality but not the aesthetic nature that the majority of consumers look for in a product (especially one that would be worn constantly). A customisable design could make this a true game changer.
From the looks of it the advantage that the smartphone companies such as Apple and Blackberry will have over these “Google Glasses” is that the product seems to be limited to using Google related software (it will also run on Android) so does not seem to have popular social networking applications such as Facebook or Twitter and it does not seem to be able to support gaming applications. The eye movement and voice control however present new opportunities in technology interaction just like Kinect did with motion controlled games.
Whatever happens this is a brand new world and everyone in the mobile industry and the world should be aware of the changes coming to us in the next few years as this technology is thrust onto us with the full force that only a global company could create.