Google touts connected vision with Project Glass
Saira Peesker, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, April 5, 2012 6:50PM EDT
Sick of having to pull your phone out of your pocket to take a photo, or the time-consuming task of searching for directions? Google may have the solution for you, provided you're willing to look a bit like Star Trek's Geordi LaForge.
Conceptual details of Project Glass, a secretive Google project to put cutting-edge technology inside a pair of glasses, were posted Wednesday on the Internet giant's social media platform, Google+.
The augmented-reality glasses -- which apparently exist in prototype form -- include a camera, a screen that can display information relative to the wearer's location, and a voice-prompted digital assistant not unlike Apple's Siri.
Some of the minds behind the project, which is based out of the Google X research lab, said the glasses are meant to keep users in the moment instead of constantly detaching from their surroundings to look things up on their phones.
"We think technology should work for you -- to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don't," says the Google+ post, by Babak Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun. "We took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do."
The photos show the glasses as a sleek frame with no lenses and a small screen above the right eye.
The video that accompanies the post is shot from the point of view of a man wearing the glasses. Icons showing the directions to his destinations appear overlaid on a city streetscape; he is seen dictating and sending text messages and even video-chatting with his girlfriend using the glasses.
Many web users indicated the design looked somewhat unfashionable, but most seemed willing to give the glasses a try regardless.
"I'm fascinated, I want," wrote New York-based Twitter user Kashish Das Srestha on Thursday. "Will there be one in a Wayfarer frame? Must tech look dorky?"
But while many online are excited about the futuristic technology, others noted that Google failed to include the logical extension of such technology into its demo video: ads.
"In the Project Glass video, Google forgot to demonstrate all the annoying contextual ads they'll force you to look at throughout your day," tweeted Christopher Horrell.
To that effect, several parody videos have emerged showing what Project Glass might look like with ads cluttering the user's visual space.
"When I saw that Google had forgotten to include any ads in their Project Glass concept video I just couldn't resist fixing that oversight for them," wrote video remix artist Jonathan McIntosh in the description of his YouTube video that appears to have started the trend.
"Let's face it, Google really is just a massive advertising company at heart... All in all, I think the product is a little more believable and realistic this way."