[LINK] Google glasses

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Feb 22 19:54:03 AEDT 2012

Google to Sell Heads-Up Display Glasses by Year’s End

By NICK BILTON February 21, 2012

People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits 
of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made 
glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs 
in real time.

According to several Google employees familiar with the project who asked 
not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the public by the end of 
the year. These people said they are expected “to cost around the price 
of current smartphones,” or $250 to $600.

The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-
based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from 
someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a 
number of sensors including motion and GPS.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on the project.

Seth Weintraub, a blogger for 9 to 5 Google, who first wrote about the 
glasses project in December, and then discovered more information about 
them this month, also said the glasses would be Android-based and cited a 
source that described their look as that of a pair of Oakley Thumps.

They will also have a unique navigation system. “The navigation system 
currently used is a head tilting to scroll and click,” Mr. Weintraub 
wrote this month. “We are told it is very quick to learn and once the 
user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost 
indistinguishable to outside users.”

The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able 
to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about 
locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, 
according to the Google employees. 

The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly — although Google 
expects some of the nerdiest users will wear them a lot — but will be 
more like smartphones, used when needed.

Internally, the Google X team has been actively discussing the privacy 
implications of the glasses and the company wants to ensure that people 
know if they are being recorded by someone wearing a pair of glasses with 
a built-in camera.

The project is currently being built in the Google X offices, a secretive 
laboratory near Google’s main campus that is charged with working on 
robots, space elevators and dozens of other futuristic projects.

One of the key people involved with the glasses is Steve Lee, a Google 
engineer and creator of the Google mapping software, Latitude. As a 
result of Mr. Lee’s involvement, location information will be paramount 
in the first version released to the public, several people who have seen 
the glasses said. The other key leader on the glasses project is Sergey 
Brin, Google’s co-founder, who is currently spending most of his time in 
the Google X labs.

One Google employee said the glasses would tap into a number of Google 
software products that are currently available and in use today, but will 
display the information in an augmented reality view, rather than as a 
Web browser page like those that people see on smartphones.

The glasses will send data to the cloud and then use things like Google 
Latitude to share location, Google Goggles to search images and figure 
out what is being looked at, and Google Maps to show other things nearby, 
the Google employee said. “You will be able to check in to locations with 
your friends through the glasses,” they added.

Everyone I spoke with who was familiar with the project repeatedly said 
that Google was not thinking about potential business models with the new 
glasses. Instead, they said, Google sees the project as an experiment 
that anyone will be able to join. If consumers take to the glasses when 
they are released later this year, then Google will explore possible 
revenue streams.

As I noted in a Disruptions column last year, Apple engineers are also 
exploring wearable computing, but the company is taking a different 
route, focusing on computers that strap around someone’s wrist..


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