What Are Google Glasses?

glassesWhat new tech could inspire developers to spend $1,500 for the opportunity to test it? Google Glasses.

Developed as a way to take data out of the screen and put it right in front of the eyes — wherever those eyes go.  It looks like a clunky pair of glasses, but it is an advanced system that incorporates a camera, display screen, microphone, touchpad, and battery.  It is, in effect, a wearable computer that interacts with the environment.

What it Does

Glass projects a screen in the upper right of the user’s field of vision. This allows the device to overlay data into daily life.  Users can see translations and transcriptions of real time conversations, scroll through email and messages, reply to texts and snap pictures and video of anything they see.  It can also provide directions (when linked to a phone) and pull up information about what is being seen. It also provides sound using vibrations in the skull, much more streamlined than wearing ear plugs or headphones.

A touchpad on the frame arm along with verbal commands picked up by the microphone allow users to interact with the device, selecting what actions to take using words and gestures.

The Specs

The display screen is currently estimated at 640 x 360 and the camera is a 5 megapixel that films at 720p.

Battery life is supposed to be about a day, depending on how much video and data-heavy use.  It will come with a micro USB charger and cable.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built in, but there is no GPS (that’s in the Android phone that they want users to pair with Google Glass for expanded functionality).

It relies on Google Drive for storage, as only 12GB of the device’s 16GB of flash memory is designated for user storage.

It comes in five colors: black, white, blue, gray, and orange. The frame arms and nose pads will be replaceable.

What Can it Do?

As with other devices, the real power comes in apps.  Those developers who entered the lottery in order to test drive the first version are busy creating new software for Google Glass.  Some early apps:

  • Google Hangout software allows video conferencing with friends — including real time sharing of what the user is looking at
  • MyGlass app links the glasses to an Android phone so that messages can be received, viewed, and responded to
  •  An app is being developed to allow users to identify friends in a crowd.
  • Another third-party app will create emails from dictation.
  • The New York Times app will display a headline and can then provide a byline and other information upon request.

Other ideas include the ability to link Google Glass with social media and other tools to notify users when they are near highly rated restaurants or stores or to identify from site details about a business from the street. One airline suggests an app that would display flight details while waiting in the airport.

How to Get One

The developer version is already out there and costs $1,500.  Consumer versions should be released by the end of this year. The price has not been announced, but experts estimate it will be slightly less than the developer version.

Article by John Duncan, a writer and blogger who has written for websites like Veriti Consulting covering the financial, legal and technological industry.

photo by: VinothChandar