Photo illustration by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
UPDATE: The buzz around Google's new "Project Glass" eyewear continues to gain steam as pundits and potential customers wonder whether the experience can really be as cool as the video that quickly turned viral (embedded below) suggests. At least we know the glasses exist. Dismissing those who doubted the glasses were even for real, PC Mag points out that a blogger snapped a picture of Google co-founder Sergey Brin sporting the product at a recent event.
Can the glasses deliver? Not in their current form, contends Wired. As it looks now, the “glasses” don’t have lenses, but rather just a small rectangular piece of glass over the right eye. “The hardware that appears in the photos doesn’t appear capable of delivering the augmented-reality experience we see in the video,” writes Wired, noting that it is possible Google is working on two different systems.
Google needs to be careful, warns the Associated Press, lest what looks futuristic now could soon “be dismissed as a kind of Bluetooth earpiece of the future, a fashion faux-pas where bulky looks outweigh marginal utility.”
Others, however, are more bullish. Seeking Alpha, for example, says the eyewear should at the very least have competitors like Apple and Facebook shaking in their boots since the Android-powered device could replace some of their networking and technology products.
Yet the significance of the “Project Glass” goes far beyond the advantage Google could get on its competitors. It also made the company cool again, argues Brian Heater in Engadget. Recently, many in the tech community had grown tired of complaining that Google seemed to be losing its uniqueness. A company once known for its innovation suddenly became another huge corporation and some wondered whether it had become too big for its own good. Yet with its latest announcement, the company has managed to once again capture the public’s imagination and get everyone talking.
While Google got all the attention, it isn’t the only company working on eyewear of the future, reports BGR. Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White told investors that meetings in China and Taiwan confirmed competitors are already looking to one-up the Google prototype.
Thursday, April 5: Google on Wednesday unveiled a prototype of its Star Trek-like "augmented reality" eyewear on the company’s social network, Google+.
Reuters reports that the wraparound glasses bring Google web products— from navigation to video chatting—right in front of a viewer’s eyes. While it isn’t clear if the glasses will be commercially available, the company wrote on the Project Glass page on Google+ that they wanted to start a conversation early.
The product was developed by Steve Lee, Google Latitude creator, in the super secret Google X laboratory, which aims to make ambitious technology a reality in a short amount of time.
Google also released an accompanying Project Glass video on YouTube, walking potential users through a day with the glasses. The man in the video makes plans with his friends, checks into locations and plays music without lifting a hand. In a one-day span, the video has received over 1 million hits.
CNET technology reporter Larry Dignan points out that the "smart" glasses could boost tourism, streamline shopping or give real-time deals or coupons on local merchants. But he said the up-close data could also have invasive advertising right at your eyeballs.
Check out the Project Glass video for yourself: