What is Google Glass?

Google “Glass” is a wearable computer with a head-mounted display similar to a pair of glasses, that has been developed by Google with the aim to produce “Glass” for mass-market consumption. The user gives voice commands and the Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format.

While the frames do not currently have lenses fitted to them, they come with some clip on lenses. It is also expected that Google will enter into commercial arrangements with various sunglass manufacturers who will adopt the technology into their consumer offering. In the current version still going through initial testing stages, Google Glass is not suitable for users who wear prescription glasses although it is expected that this will be included in the next phase of development.

Google Glass

Head-mounted computers are certainly not a new idea, however Google has created more buzz for the idea since revealing their slim, designer prototype. Where previously it was a concept of science fiction shows, it appears to be closer than ever to becoming a commercial reality.

Google have made an initial quantity available for testing in the USA. Those in a position to pay the $1500 for the privilege of testing the first Google Glass, named “The Explorer Edition” will have input into the consumer version which is expected to be released toward the end of 2013 or early 2014. If you’re interested in being an early adopter, you should be able to pick up a pair for “significantly less” than this initial prototype, however the retail price is certainly far from being set.

Glass has an enticing demonstration video which allows you to imagine the possibilities, presuming you actually want to be connected to the internet or have the ability to take photos or record video without having to pick up a camera.  The demo promises the world at your voice command, with the ability to look up information. Imagine walking the streets of Paris, and you would like to order something in French. A simple question to Glass can have you conversing in the native tongue.

The one big issue facing a device such as Glass, is privacy. At the moment there may be few around, and presumably not that many in Australia. As version 2, and even version 3 are released in the future, we may see many more people wearing them. How will you feel about strangers or even people you know having the potential to record you without your knowledge? Where would it be inappropriate to wear them? It is feasible that activities, venues or indeed your own friends will place restrictions on where and when you will be able to use a device such as Glass. Not everyone will want their every conversation or movement recorded, so it can become quite the social minefield.

Time will tell how public sentiment will judge this next consumer offering in technology.

Would you use Google Glass?

Check out the Google Glass video here