Recently, Google unveiled a new project that it has in the works called Project Glass. Project Glass involves an augmented reality experience that combines all of the functionality of your smartphone with integrated, right in the moment access to all of its features and more as you’re going about your day. The experience is facilitated by a lightweight, wearable device that is similar to modified eyeglasses. It functions simultaneously as a camera, transparent video monitor and headset.
The wearable device has a small piece of glass over the right eye, but has no lens over the left eye. The lens can project and display anything from emails and text messages to traffic information, maps and personal reminders right in the wearer’s field of vision, as if they had a clear monitor right in front of them. The wearable device can provide directions right in the moment, show video chats, take photos on command and record notes, and more, all without the user having to lift a finger. Though there’s no official word yet, you may be able to send your own videos, complete with first-person commentary, to other Glass users or anyone with a media-capable device. The Project Glass device is voice operated and is designed to respond to commands issued in the flow of real life, as situations arise.
However, Project Glass is far from complete, and not yet ready for prime time. Google says it only spilled the beans about the project in order to generate interest and gather feedback from the public. In a sense, they are testing the waters. Project Glass has been in development since 2010 by a small, stealth team of engineers. Google does not yet have a timeline as to when the wearable device might be available to the public, but prototypes are being tested outside of the Google lab’s secure walls. They are not sure yet if the device will be standalone, or powered wirelessly through a smartphone. There seems to be much that is left to be determined about Project Glass.
One of the biggest questions facing Google about Project Glass is the prospect of whether or not Google’s famous AdWords ads will be shown inside the field of vision seen by the wearer. At this time, Google co-founder Sergey Brin says no. Google claims that the primary goal and intention of this device is to create a sort of wearable, interactive computer that people can use while on the go.
However, many already doubt that all of Google’s intentions with this product are entirely pure. A number of satirists were quick to post video spoof responses to Google’s original concept video about Project Glass. Some of these videos humorously speculate on what an overly intrusive or ad-littered version of the Project Glass experience might look like.
To be sure, the implications of a development like Project Glass are very intriguing to think about. It could simplify life in a myriad of ways. However, the potential for intrusive or even manipulative uses of the technology are undeniable, and a good measure of concern is being expressed by people in addition to enthusiasm.
What’s next for Project Glass? No doubt, Google is carefully tracking public sentiment and deciding what to do next. If and when the device does become available to the public, it could look very different than it does now.
You can track the progress of Project Glass on Google+.
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