Google Releases ‘Project Glass’ Augmented Reality Glasses

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Google has just revealed a groundbreaking new product which could change the way we see the world. Project Glass has landed – augmented reality glasses that let you do all the things a smartphone would and more, right in front of your eyes and without having to lift a finger.

The glasses work on a similar voice command principle to the iPhone 4S’ Siri, but with way more integrated features. Google’s demo video shows how the glasses (previously dubbed Google Goggles) can be worn throughout the day, allowing the user to send instant messages, take and share photos and schedule reminders; all via voice commands. They integrate with Google Maps, allowing the wearer to be guided to their destination whilst listening to music, video chatting with friends and taking photos along the way.

Google’s Vision for Augmented Reality

Google’s demo makes pretty impressive viewing; although be warned, the actors may suffocate you in a cloud of smug. Several parodies are now doing the rounds on YouTube.

In the demo, the glasses direct the user through the city, helping him meet up with a friend and share photos on Google+. The climax of the video sees the wearer virtually ‘meeting’ his girlfriend at the top of a skyscraper via video messaging. Her image appears in front of his eyes on the glasses and he serenades her on a ukulele whilst showing her the sunset view of the city. Ok, so it’s totally cheesy but it’s still hard not to be impressed by the possibilities of the technology.

Virtual Insanity?

Have you ever accidentally mistaken someone talking on a handsfree kit for a crazy person? We foresee this being a big hurdle to this technology. Many critics are also saying that the Project Glass design can’t live up to the hype created by the video. According to; Google has refused to reveal any specifics of how the product would work (although this isn’t exactly surprising if they are trying to protect their ideas). The glasses feature a frame with a tiny screen above the right eye – so presumably the wearer would have to be looking up towards the right corner the whole time. Also, it looks as though the social networking integration could be limited to Google+, a definite downside.

The aesthetics have come under fire too: at the moment, the glasses aren’t exactly the hippest of fashion accessories – they’re a sort of NHS version of the ones that Geordi la Forge wears in Star Trek. Hopefully the finished product will be better looking post-prototype stage. One Zeta team member suggested that the aesthetic could be improved if they were fashioned into a monocle: technology for the discerning gent or gentess of the 21st century.

Project Glass in Action

Google founder Sergey Brin was seen wearing the glasses at a conference last weekend. The glasses don’t look quite as sleek as the pair shown in Google’s demo, but apparently they were fully functional – although according to reports, only child Brin refused to let anyone else have a go on them.

In its current guise, Project Glass seems more of a novelty than a life changing technology, but we’re looking forward to more news releases – we’ll keep you posted.

Would you wear these glasses? Let us know in the comments or tweet @ZetaAgency / @Amy_Maslin