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Photos via Google Google showed off its first venture into wearable computing, called Project Glass. Facebook Twitter Google+ Save E-mail Share Print If you venture into a coffee shop in the coming months and see someone with a pair of futuristic glasses that look like a prop from “Star Trek,” don’t worry. It’s probably just a Google employee testing the company’s new augmented-reality glasses.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin have long had the dream of a hands-free, mobile Google, where search was a seamless process as you moved around the world. As the years progressed the vision did, too, expanding beyond search to persistent connections with the people in your lives. In other words, Google’s view of the world now has the social side fully baked into it. Today, Google is revealing that it is taking concrete steps towards that vision with ProjectGlass, an augmented reality system that will give users the full range of activities performed with a smart phone — without the smart phone. Instead, you wear some sort of geeky prosthetic (one of those pictured is reminiscent of the visor that Geordi La Forge wore on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” but Google has also been experimenting with a version that piggybacks on regular spectacles.) On top of your field of vision, you get icons, alerts, directional arrows, and other visual cues that inform, warn, or beg response.
What will it change?
Google’s augmented reality eyewear is coming to disrupt your face and your business model. If you don’t even have to pull your phone out to take a photo, get directions, or message with friends, why would you need to buy the latest iPhone or spend so much time on Facebook? It could be a year before Google eyewear reaches stores, but that’s why these and other tech companies need to strategize now. If they wait to see if the device is a hit, the world could be seeing through Google-tinted glasses by the time they adapt.
Google is barring anyone deemed worthy of a pair of its $1,500 Google Glass computer eyewear from selling or even loaning out the highly coveted gadget. The company’s terms of service on the limited-edition wearable computer specifically states, “you may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google’s authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty.”
Google announced a number of new partner apps today on stage at Google I/O during the “Developing for Glass” session. Facebook and Twitter were the highlights of the list, which also included Evernote, Tumblr, Elle and CNN, in addition to the previously announced NYT and Path apps.