Google, in its inimitable style, has announced the unveiling of one of its latest projects by simply posting a video on YouTube. While the video appears self explanatory, some who visit might not understand that the glasses demonstrated are an actual real product that Google is currently testing. Called Project Glass, the announcement is meant to show the world that Google is serious about developing a pair of eyeglasses that display useful, real time information to the wearer. As the New York Times – Bits section, points, out, the glasses are a combination smart phone, augmented reality device and messaging system.
Augmented reality is where sensors pick up information in the real world and then use that information to pull related data from a cloud based database. One example would be if a user wearing such a device were to walk down the street, the names of the buildings would be displayed, or perhaps a menu if the building is a restaurant. The point is that real world, hopefully useful information is displayed in a timely fashion, and that’s what Google is trying to show with the video.
And while Google is trying to sell people on the idea of using the glasses for general purpose use, ZDNet isn’t so sure that will work out, instead, they say they think such glasses might be an easier sell to companies looking to add them as a tool for business, say in tourism or at shopping malls, marketing attempts, real estate showings, or even in business meetings.
What’s not so obvious is that the glasses demonstrated in the video don’t actually exist as shown. Sure, they can display information, but making a connection between real world stuff and stuff that the person wearing the glasses finds important isn’t something that anyone has been able to figure out just yet. For example, in the video, the person looks at the sky a moment and is given an instant weather report. Would that happen every time a person happens to glance skyward? That would grow old very quickly. Thus, the problem of what to show, and what to not becomes critical to the success of any such glasses, as would the need to somehow convince people that wearing the glasses all the time would be worth having to wear glasses all the time; not something a lot of people want to do. They’d need a very compelling reason.
Google of course isn’t giving an official release date for the product but Bits says Google has let on that Google employees will be testing the glasses in public this summer and hopes to get them to market perhaps as early as next year.