Google glasses? Not this year

John C. Tanner

Google glasses? Not this year

April 11, 2012

As you're probably no doubt aware, last week Google announced Project Glass, its augmented-reality project in which glasses become your mobile display for AR apps.

Concept video is available.
Not unexpectedly, reactions vary from unabashed sci-fi/geek enthusiasm to curmudgeonly “it’ll never fly” skepticism, as well as the predictable fashion jokes.
And, of course, there’s the obligatory paranoid Orwellian angle.
My own take:
There’s no denying the SF/geek angle – the idea of glasses serving as computer screens has been an SF staple for ages. So I get that. And I do think AR glasses are going to happen sooner or later, if only because AR only has so much appeal when you have to hold the smartphone or tablet between you and the real world to make use of it. Head-mounted displays will make for a much better experience.
But only if Google (and anyone else aiming for this sector) get it right. And that’s a hard dollar for a variety of reasons. Wired’s Gadget Lab has a good summary of them here. Meanwhile, Technology Review covers the neurobiological challenges of AR displays that close to your eyes. 
(One thing I’d add: how will this work for people like me who wear glasses for vision-correction purposes? Can I get prescription AR glasses?)
Despite all that, the New York Times claims that Google intends to have actual AR glasses out by the end of the year at price points similar to smartphones. However, between the enormous technical challenges and the fact that the NYT credits unnamed Google employees as its source, I have my doubts.
Also, the Google[x] team in charge of Project Glass have said that they unveiled the project not so much to launch an actual product as to “start a conversation” and get ideas from people just what they expect AR glasses to deliver. So it seems more like they’re leaving their options open.
Whenever the glasses do come out, whether they’ll deliver the high-concept vision in Google’s demo video is anyone’s guess, and Blair MacIntyre, director of the Augmented Environments Lab at Georgia Tech, makes a fair point to Gadget Lab when he suggests that Google may have set the bar too high for itself:
“In one simple fake video,” MacIntyre told Wired, “Google has created a level of over-hype and over-expectation that their hardware cannot possibly live up to.”
Thumbail image from server side store: 
John C. Tanner
Time to rethink the fundamentals of network investment models
Ericsson is the top vendor, Huawei is the fastest growing
7,000 and counting, says Trend Micro. Recommendation: stop using payment-related apps now
Heartbleed, MH370 saga challenge what we thought we knew about security capabilities
The network is not the product -- it's application delivery
Market needs reliable infrastructure, pro-innovation policies, effective competition to mature
Low-cost devices and an encrypted smartphone OS steal the show
A rundown of the new smartphone OS challengers vying to be the third platform
Ericsson has been in Asia for more than 100 years and will continue to drive technology and services leadership in order to bring the best mobile experiences to end users full website

© 2012 Questex Asia Ltd., a Questex Media Group company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Please send any technical comments or questions to our webmaster.