The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on an opportunity they had to try out Google’s new wearable computing device dubbed Google Glass. You may recall the last big show by Google of the device they are working on was back in the summer when the glasses played a major role in the keynote address for Google I/O. Since then, Google’s internal research lab, Google X, has been quietly working on the device. Possibly as a response to Apple’s big announcement this week, Google arranged for the new glasses to show up on some models during a New York fashion show over the weekend and they now gave access to WSJ writer Spencer E. Ante for a quick spin. A video of Google co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrating some features of the glasses with Ante is available after the break.
The glasses are reported to be very lightweight with a camera built into the frame, a heads up display that will appear over the wearer’s right eye, and built-in microphones. Ultimately, the device will function much like a smartphone. Using voice-activated commands, users will be able to take pictures, record video, send messages, use Google Maps, and yes, even make a phone call. Most of this functionality is still in the development phase, so it is not entirely clear how well it will work in real-world applications.
Brin thinks the key long-term potential for the device is the ability to access information in the digital world without disrupting the real world. For example, he talked about the ability to play with his kids while the glasses took a picture every ten seconds. That meant he could continue playing instead of getting his phone out and bringing his interaction to a halt.
Google plans to release a version next year for buyers who were willing to pay $1,500 on pre-order. Success of the product will likely depend on the ability of Google to drive that price down. The verdict is still out on the functions that will be available and how well they will work, but this early look at them is promising. Brin thinks technology like Google Glass is the wave of the future and he expects “lots and lots of people will be using technology like this in years to come.”