You've got to hand it to Google. They don't let silly things like "feasibility" and "finances" get in the way of an awesome idea. The New York Times is reporting that Google is working on a set of glasses with the specs of a smartphone, including 3G and 4G data connectivity, GPS, a camera, and oh yeah, a heads-up display.
Not the actual display. We wish, though.
The glasses, which are supposedly under development at Google's not-so-secret Google X lab, would cost about as much as a smartphone, so they likely won't be for the light wallet. That being said, if they work as advertised, they could still sell plenty. The glasses would use the heads-up display to overlay the wearer's world with information, from descriptions of surrounding buildings to showing you where your friends are nearby via Latitude.
The glasses would be Android powered, which means that they would likely be able to make use of the Intents system, so you can count on integration with your other Android devices. Moreover, the glasses would have their own navigation system. Currently Google employees are testing a system of head tilts to scroll and click. We'll reserve judgment for how well this works in practice, but we're excited.
Integration into Google services, though, is the most exciting part. Google Goggles is already a killer system for identifying books, movies, monuments, logos, text, and even solving Sudoku puzzles. Imagine how much better it would be if that functionality were built right into your glasses and requires only a tilt of your head to activate? Not to mention being able to overlay reviews of restaurants or venues over the buildings themselves as you pass them on the street without lifting a finger.
The glasses are said to be available before the end of the year. Since it's only February, that gives Google plenty of time to change their minds. However, the NYT reports that internally Google isn't looking at potential business models, but sees the glasses as more of an experiment that anyone can join. If the experiment works, Google might start selling the glasses for real. This means Google doesn't really have much to lose by not releasing the glasses, so hopefully it will really happen.
Heads-up displays, and all augmented reality for that matter, has so far remained a pipe dream of the gadget-loving public. The tech exists, but it's still clunky and pretty difficult to use. We'd all like to have a HUD like Tony Stark's, but if they're not implemented well they can be more of a burden than a blessing. Here's hoping that Google will produce something that works really well. If consumers are expected to shell out several hundred dollars for a pair of glasses that are difficult to use, the experiment will obviously fail. Who knows how long it might be before we get our internet-infused optics on if that happens?
Source: The New York Times