Google has unveiled its Augmented Reality Glasses Project

Just last week, Google finally revealed details on a project it has been working on in its special research department, “Google[x]”. The project is called Project Glass. The project is not a complete surprise to some because it has been rumored about before and was even featured in a New York Times blog about two months ago. Now it is confirmed and official. The thought of having glasses that can display information and do things that smartphones can is fascinating. These glasses may become one of those concepts that originally sprouted from science fiction stories and eventually ended up in the real world. Of course, the glasses are still a concept as far as we know and the project is still in the development and testing stage. Google itself is encouraging feedback from people in the project’s Google+ page.

So what exactly are these glasses and what do they do?  In terms of appearance based on Google’s concept images, the glasses don’t look like the ones we typically see today. Instead of covering the majority of the front of the eyes with pairs of glass sheets, the concept glasses appear to be a device with a small translucent screen located on the upper part of one eye. It is held in place by something that looks like a relatively conventional glasses frame. The images below are the concept images released by Google.

The main features of the glasses are their internet and computing capabilities and the ability to display content on their translucent screens. I think these features open up a lot of possibilities. There is a video highlighting what these glasses may be able to do (or, more appropriately, what they will allow people to do):

I mentioned that there are so many possibilities for such a device. These are what I think the main uses for the glasses would be (in no particular order):

1) Getting from here to there – You can find real-time directions to a destination without needing to pull out a cellphone or laptop. This also means avoiding having to constantly glance at your phone or other portable devices.

2) Doing instant internet searches – Searching the internet will be quick and instantaneous because the device you are searching with is literally right in front of you. You will search with your voice instead of typing.

3) Knowing instantly what you are looking at – The glasses’ scanning and geo-mapping technologies can potentially identify objects (both living and non-living) and places that are in front of you, and display the appropriate information. For things, it may offer a definitions or explanations of what they are. For places, it may tell you the names, the addresses and the services offered in those locations.

4) Viewing widgets and apps in a flash - Again, you won't need to pull out your phone. You can view apps right on your glasses, choosing to either keep it displayed within your view or be accessible through a voice command.

5) Contacting or messaging people immediately - With just voice inputs, you can begin communications with other people via an internet connection. If somehow the glasses is equipped with cellular capabilities as well, you would be able to make instant phone calls too.

6) Taking pictures and videos instantly - What is in front of you can literally be made into a photo or video within seconds. I personally don't know if this would a good thing or not. Nevertheless, it is an interesting possibility.

If there is a word that could summarize the glasses’ utility, I think that word is “instant”. Its basic capabilities may not be very different from the present range of smartphones but what gives it the edge is how fast and convenient the users can perform the tasks with it. If done right, these glasses may be able to offer the best and most integrated experiences with tasks like internet search and finding directions.

It is true that we don’t know yet if these glasses will prove to be useful or practical for the consumers. However, I am really hoping this catches on because it seems like a very cool and ambitious concept. It also doesn’t hurt that it can potentially make our lives easier and help us perform certain tasks quicker. Of course, we still have to wait and see first if Google can successfully turn their concept into a real product. I am cautiously optimistic we won’t have to wait too long for it, though.

Source: New York Times blog (1)New York Times blog (2), 9to5 GoogleProject Glass Google+ page

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