Google’s futuristic Project Glass aims to seamlessly integrate technology with daily life, giving consumers a glimpse of mobile computing beyond tablets and smartphones.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin unveiled the Explorer Edition of Project Glass at the company’s I/O 2012 conference, giving reporters a detailed look at the device, which originally debuted in April.
Google Glasses let users snap photos, send texts and look up directions without ever reaching for their smartphones. The ultra lightweight glasses work by projecting digital content onto a transparent display just above the wearer’s line of vision.
Brin explained the glasses are part of his company’s continuing strategy to take mobile technology beyond traditional smartphones and tablets.
“The charter of Google X is to take bold risks and push the edges of technology beyond what they’ve been to where the future might be,” he said. “We want you to be less of a slave to your devices.”
Since the invention of computers, people have been bound to their desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. But technology is now progressing away from keyboards and mice to touchscreens and even voice recognition systems like Apple’s Siri that give people a more natural way to digitize their lives.
Google aims to ride the momentum of this movement, striving to develop intuitive and non-invasive technology like wearable glasses that respond to commands with minimal input.
As head of the Google X labs, Brin is barreling forward in this regard, working on Driverless Cars, which have so far traveled over one thousand miles without human intervention and proven safe in test runs. They have even driven down San Francisco’s famously twisted Lombard Street, suggesting the vehicles can navigate the most complicated roads.
In addition, Google is working to create “smart” homes that unlock doors, start electronics and switch on heat and lights with the press of a button. Eric Schmidt reaffirmed his company’s intentions at CES 2012 this January, hinting at future Android-run homes.
Brin said the consumer version, set for production next year, will be significantly cheaper than the $1,500 Explorer Edition for developers. But he said Google Glasses remain a “premium” product, adding, “Our focus is the quality of the experience, more than making it as cheap as possible.”
Google is talking with eyewear designers to integrate the technology into existing frames and also plans to make the device available in several different colors.
As Google pushes the envelope beyond smartphones and tablets, it may encounter initial consumer resistance to its futuristic technology. But with enough education and promotion, the company may just succeed in making digital glasses the next cool trend.