John Lynch

Those Google glasses are getting close

Google have been working on their glasses for 2-3 years now and it seems like they could launch a working product in 2013. It offers you a heads up display freeing up your hands. They have built-in camera, GPS and offer email and web searches on surface of glasses. Prototypes now being tested in the real world, this could be Google's iPhone moment, but it raises some questions...

Google glassesThe glasses are android based and 'layer' computer information over the world. The geek in me is very excited about this but many questions spring to mind.

1. I love the idea, but is this an engineer coming up with a product the thinks as an engineer everyone should have?  It looks like they took the idea literally from Star Treck and the Borg.  Great geek appeal but does having the web on demand flowing just in front of our eye have mass appeal?  

2. Serge said it’s all about freeing up your hands (to an extent as you can see him in the video below navigating the system via a touchpad on the right side of the headset behind the display). If its hands free, will it be legal in the street never mind driving a car to use one of these?  If texting is already accident-prone with people falling down manholes, imagine the damage this thing could do to you (check out the actual view below). If its not possible to wear on the hoof or while driving you may need to think how you store it while not in use.

3. Will it look a bit odd? It might just be me, but when I see guys with that blue tooth thing in their ear I tend to think is a tad sad looking and (sunglasses aside) people only wear glasses if they have to. Can you see a world where we are all wearing these things walking down the street? A world where are constantly been alerted to the proximity of friends, emails, sales that are happening, train delays, weather forecasts...  That’s all we need, more distractions but this time right in a high portion of your field of vision. The obvious option will be to graft it in and project the image right on to your retina… that’s 2014.

4. Will this increase isolation? On a philosophical point, and as an extension of point 3, with the increasing isolation that technology is bringing to modern society will this not dramatically add to it? I am not sure how the brain focuses but I am assuming you only process one thing in focus a time so I assume half the time you could be focusing on the glasses, the other half on you own inner world. Deep…

5. Will people tolerate ads in the intimate space? Ultimately it’s a new vehicle for adwords so they had better or it’s a bit of a waste of time for Google. It will need a new model i suspect but if anyone can manage to put a working model into this space Google will.

In the video below you get a feel of how big they are.  he lets a mere mortal, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, use them. Newsom said afterwards to Wired that the “image was remarkably clear.” As for interacting with the real world while wearing the glasses, Newsom said he found it easy to quickly focus on Brin and Wojcicki sitting across the desk, and then refocus to the image of himself displayed in the headset’s screen.   

As Brine says, its all pretty far out. Will it be an iPhone moment for Google, I am not so sure. Price may play an issue but also if it actually addresses a real need and moves beyond early adopters like me, as I gotta have one................

What the Borg actually see with Google goggles Google glasses



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John Lynch Digital Ministry John Lynch
Company: Digital Ministry
Position: Editor
Involved in the digital media and Marketing industry for many years, through working at the Economist Group (uk), Universal McCanns, Zivo, emitch, OneDigital, IBM (client side), & now TBWA NY Now in Bath, UK working as a consultant

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