Google Glass was first released to developers in February 2013, and is scheduled to become available to consumers in early 2014. Google Glass is a wearable computer which has an optical head mounted display (OHMD), developed by Google and being manufactured by Foxconn. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format that can interact with the Internet via natural language voice commands.
Each set of glasses weighs just 50g and has built in WiFi, Bluetooth, Micro SD, 5MP camera, 720P video recorder and voice recognition software; not to mention the proximity sensor, microphone, gyroscope, bone conduction transducer etc. The amount of technology that has been skilfully crafted into this device is breath-taking.
It has become viral over the past few weeks, dominating content on many social platforms, but like with any new device, it’s not all been positive feedback… Pinterest – a photo sharing site, has a variety of mixed opinions on the device; from pictures and sarcasm likening it to the obese characters on the children’s film WALL.E, to picture tutorials on how the software actually works.
But perhaps one of the main reasons that people are mocking Google Glass or accusing it of health implications is because they simply do not understand the product or its monumental potential.
The frames themselves do not currently have lenses fitted to them, however it has been suggested that Google is considering partnership deals with sunglass makers e.g. Ray-Ban. One of the latest excitements regarding the development of this device is that Google have said that they are likely to open retail stores, similar to the chain of Apple stores, to allow customers to test the device for themselves.
Just a few months into the beta testing programme and already YouTube is littered with videos, demonstrations and tutorials. But like any great innovation – it’s not what it’s designed to do that is truly astounding; it’s the other uses that the customers create for it, that really push the boundaries. For instance, the iPotty was not Steve Job’s initial intention for the iPad but nonetheless it got people talking more than the release of the actual iPad.
Some of the Google Glass features and uses already outlined by Google are:
· Say “take a picture” to take a picture.
· Record what you see. Hands-free
· Even share what you see. Live.
· Directions right in front of you.
· Speak to send a message.
· Ask whatever’s on your mind.
· Translate your voice.
· Answers without having to ask.
However, the magic only truly starts when society and other innovators gets their hands on it. Think how journalism could be changed in the future, live reports, without the need for heavy equipment. The next Olympic Games are going to be hosted in Brazil next year. Many online broadcasters are already offering viewers the ability to select what camera angle they wish to see the coverage from. Just think of the possibilities if the athletes were wearing Google Glass!
So yes, it might be a scary concept to some people, but you need to have an imagination and a truly open mind to be able to even contemplate the astonishing potential of Google Glass!