Yesterday, Google announced a new product called Google Glass, but which is in fact a pair of glasses. The naming convention leads me to assume that Google believes that it is launching a technology rather than a product, one that will be licensed or adopted by others.
This product intrigues me greatly. Already there are tons of column inches being devoted to the technology, which currently breaks down into two broad use cases. The first is to be able to take pictures and record video ‘on the go’. To prove how good this is, they had parachutists jump out of a plane over San Francisco yesterday and had a live film stream from the glasses to a screen on stage that was very cool.
The second use case is to overlay augmented reality over what the eye can see. To get an idea of how that works check out this video here.
My first thought however, was that I went to a lot of trouble to have Lasik eye surgery and I don’t want to go back to wearing glasses. Then I realized that I wear sunglasses all the time. Since the Google Glass glasses weigh the same as regular sunglasses and are reportedly just as comfortable, then there shouldn’t be an issue. Presumably they could be prescription as well and they are certainly very stylish.
The glasses have a small button to take pictures and start/stop video recording. The signal from the glasses is via a radio frequency so they will need regulatory approval per country. The glasses have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, and Google is also talking to telephone operators about 3G and 4G connectivity.
But none of these features alone are what gets me that excited. It is what the technology means for the future, because if this is just an alpha release, then what can we expect to see in the next five years? Those glasses could be used not just to transmit data but also to store it. For example; we could walk into a bar and if we make eye contact with someone then we could have an overlay of their marital status, health, interest level, etc. The glasses could also send our contact information.
How about navigation? With these glasses I can find anything anywhere. Start focusing your imagination in this direction and you can start to conjure up all sorts of useful scenarios. Here is another one: Since we are all only four degrees of separation away from each other, how about the glasses add a small number next to the person you look at which tells you how far removed you are from them? A kind of LinkedIn for Google glasses app. I think this will all come to pass because at some point in the not too distant future we will assign metadata to babies when they are born. A tiny device embedded into us that has the basic information someone will want, or we would want, to transmit. It would save billions of dollars in administration and security if we were all just chipped at birth. Sound stupid? Take a look at this link on it here.
This leads me to another thought; these glasses will shrink, just as all technology shrinks. They will become contact lenses in time and could eventually end up being embedded into us. Some might laugh and dismiss such star-gazing into the future but I will reply with two points. One, increasingly, if we can imagine something we make it come true. Two, more research is taking place into these futures than anyone might think.
As I have written before, its an exciting future ahead.
About the Author
Roy Taylor is a veteran executive in the tech industry. Roy was one of key executives at NVIDIA, creating and leading divisions in the company which drove the company to its leadership status. The start of NVIDIA in EMEA region, developer relations, The Way Its Meant To Be Played program, Telecom Relations (first Tegra design wins) were all driven by a charming Englishman who discovered his second youth in both sides of California. He recently left MasterImage 3D and is working on a yet unannounced project. You can follow him on LinkedIn, Techhollyood and via his new Twitter account.