Overview of the Google Glass
Image Courtesy: Google Plus page for Google Glass
The Google Glass is one of the projects being worked upon by the famed Google X Labs. Known for their approach to developing futuristic technology for tackling real life requirements, the Google Glass appears to be one of their early successes. Still very much in the Beta testing phase, the Google Glass is a kind of wearable computer with a display integrated. Google's attempt is to give the user a diluted version of augmented reality that would assist in transferring information of one's choice on a real time basis.
Simply put, the Google Glass is a wearable frame with a display unit, a digital camera, a microphone and a very powerful processor. It also includes a speaker and gyroscopes. The design is such that the frame can sit on top of normal spectacles that are worn by people in everyday life. The Google Glass is voice activated and responds to simple commands. The display unit throws up information which can be seen by glancing up towards it. The camera records everything the user sees on a real time basis. Integrating the two to provide information is where the fun begins.
Imagine you walk into a supermarket and see something you want to buy. You glance at the product of your choice, Google Glass records the image and then throws up relevant information onto the display unit. You then make an informed choice on whether to buy or not. Even better, you are lost in the city. You throw a voice command at Google Glass and it displays a map showing you the exact route to get to the point of familiarity. The possibilities are endless.
Watch this video and get the experience of using the Google Glass
One of the key elements of the Google Glass is the design or form factor. Google has designed the Glass to be non intrusive to the extent possible. Hence, the display unit is actually placed above one's eye and the user has to glance up to look at the information being presented. This ensures that the natural view from one's eye is not blocked. In addition, all the technology incorporated into the device has been aligned to one side. And the weight of the entire device is less than what most spectacles weigh today.
All said and done, when one is done raving about how cool the device looks, its success really lies in its usability and usefulness. To ensure both, the Google Glass functions on a software layer that attempts to incorporate the varied software applications from Google's stable into one location. Starting with Google Plus and its Hangout feature, moving on to Google Maps and ending with Google Goggles. And many, many more in between. Google is already contemplating opening up the application ecosystem to independent developers to develop their own apps to be used on Google Glass.
The Google Glass effectively allows one to share their point of view literally. The visual that is seen by a person is directly captured by the in-built camera and stored. The user can then share the same with his circle of friends on a real time basis. Images can be taken as still photos or as videos. Incorporating the glass with one's social profile allows incoming messages to be displayed on the display unit. Simple voice commands are all it takes to operate the glass.
In a nutshell, Google's attempt at creating wearable augmented reality computing devices seems to be path breaking. The usefulness of the Google Glass is pretty evident. The downsides of the glasses are a little vague as of now. One of the constant critiques that have been put forth is that of privacy. Forget the days when your passwords were stolen – now literally everything you see could be available for public display. Not really an exciting thought. As well know, new technology brings with it new problems and it is up to us to use it the best way we can.
The Google Glass is now available as part of the Explorer program for pre-order at about USD 1500 but only to the residents of the USA. The device is still in beta test phase and the explorer program allows users as well as developers to test the Glass and provide their feedback. There are five colours available – Black, Orange, Grey, White and Blue. The Google Glass should be available for sale by the end of 2013. In November 2012, Time Magazine listed the Google Glass as one of the best Inventions of the Year 2012. Time will tell whether these words hold true.
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.
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