We’re back with another one-page explainer, to answer the question, “What is Google Glass?”
Google Glass is the name given to a wearable computer created by Google. You put the device on like a pair of eyeglasses, although it does not have lenses. It rests on the top of your ear and bridge of your nose, like an eyeglass frame.
It sounds futuristic, but it’s not. Google Glass is being worn today by some Google employees and a select few who got the chance for an early look.
What do you use Google Glass for?
Some people have called it a second screen for your smartphone. Instead of pulling out your phone and looking at it, you just look up at the tiny screen. You use your voice to give commands and remain hands free.
You can use it to check emails, get text messages, search for the weather report or get a map for directions. It even translates spoken phrases for you, or looks things up on the Web. For small businesses, you and your staff would use it to perform certain functions you use a smartphone or tablet to do today.
It has a computer, battery, microphone, speaker and camera embedded in it. For example, to film a video you just say “OK Glass, record a video.”
You’re not actually looking at a computer screen in front of you all the time, so it doesn’t obstruct normal visibility. The little screen is slightly above your eye and to the side so you have to look up to view it (see image above).
Positives of Google Glass
Tech early adopter Robert Scoble has been wearing the Google Glass for 2 weeks, and he’s completely sold. He says he will never be without a wearable computer on his head again. Really.
According to Scoble, “it’s that significant.” He likens it to his first Apple II computer back in 1977, because he knew his life had changed, just like he says Google Glass has changed his life.
He says the Google Glass lets you be much more social than a smartphone. You’re looking at people rather than down at a phone or fumbling with the screen.
Google has announced it will allow no advertisements in apps for Google Glass.
Negatives with Google Glass
Technology reviewer David Pogue says its Achilles heel is invasion of privacy. You see, there’s a built-in camera, and someone could be filming while looking at you. Pogue gives accolades to all the technology built into the compact ear/ eye device. But in a recent CBS News video he predicts Google faces a much bigger challenge of social acceptance:
“For the first time in history, you’ll never know if someone’s filming you. Even with phones you’ll know, because they’re [holding up the phone to snap a shot]. There’s a reason Google’s promotional videos usually show people doing extreme sports or filming people from the back. You wouldn’t wear them face to face. You’ll creep people out on a date, at a party, on a subway, in a locker room. Can you imagine? I’m guessing they’ll be banned in public places, too — theaters, museums, restaurants, courtrooms. If you wear Google Glass people will think you’re the world’s biggest jerk. “
Scoble, however, says privacy was not an issue with people he’s encountered. He predicts that price will make a difference in its commercial success. In his opinion, a $200 price point (roughly the cost of materials) will be a success. A price of $500 may not be.
Of course, if it’s that life changing, we doubt that an extra $300 will matter much.
For now, it’s still experimental. You’ll be hearing more about it, but you can’t buy it yet. Google Glass is expected to be on the market in 2014.
Meanwhile, next time you hear about it you won’t have to wonder, “what is Google Glass?” – you’ll know.
Image credit: Google