The mystery of Google’s stealth consumer product has apparently been conclusively solved. The NY Times is confirming earlier reports that Google is going to release “heads up display glasses” by the end of the year. The glasses — or literal Google Goggles in this case — will utilize a range of Google technologies and databases to deliver a real-time stream of information to the wearer:
The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS…
The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees . . .
The image above right is of Oakley THUMP glasses, which the new Google AR glasses are said to resemble. Japan’s NTT DoCoMo has already developed a somewhat less ambitious augmented reality set of glasses called the “AR Walker.”
According to the NY Times’ report, the glasses will cost between $250 and $600. Without seeing the actual product it’s very difficult to predict whether it will succeed or fail. Pricing and the quality of the user experience will determine the product’s fate.
I could imagine scenarios where the goggles become a huge hit (with mostly males) and a necessary piece of “Geek Chic.” But I can equally imagine that they’d be ridiculed and satirized in an “SNL” skit.
Regardless the idea is very provocative and, succeed or fail, these glasses may help pave the way for more common, wearable computing devices. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that with these glasses Google is taking “visual search” to an entirely new level (sorry).
THUMP glasses Image via Oakley
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