Watches, bracelets, rings or even glasses. They are not next fashion accessories for spring, but the latest technology trends: wearable devices.
This market has not yet been fully explored. Devices like the Pebble smartwatch have been released with a great success. Even though we can speculate on the potentials and possibilities of these gadgets, their uses have not yet been fully determined.
No surprise. Every time a new device is released, it arises great controversy between supporters and opponents. It is the same with the famous Google Glasses: Will people be fined for using them while driving? Do they cause headache or not? Do they invade people’s privacy? Do they do something new? Etc.
Some analysts already anticipate that Google Glass is going to be a failure, because it does not provide anything new compared to smartphones or tablets. Do you remember when Steve Ballmer (the executive director of Microsoft at that time) predicted iPhone’s failure due to lack of keyboard? Think about it.
But what are Google Glasses? What are they for? How do they work? In which fields can they be used?
Google Glass is a device that consists of a clever prism that projects the screen, a camera, a microphone and a bone conduction that conducts the sound through the bones of skull to inner ears (an earbud accessory can be purchased for better sounding). The whole set is a frame that does not go unnoticed.
What does Google Glass do?
- Take pictures
- Record videos
- Share what you see
- Speak to send a message
- GPS navigation with directions right in front of you
- Search in Google with immediate answers
- Translate words
- Browse the web
- (…) Use Google Glass apps
This last point is especially interesting. Google has recently released the Glass Development Kit (GDK), which adds specific glass functions to Android SDK. It opens a wide range of possibilities concerning developers’ imagination. There are already the first game, recipe, feeds readers and virtual trainer apps. A list of apps can be found in glass-apps.org or in glassappsource.com.
Many people say glasses do nothing new compared to smartphones, the way of interacting is the only innovation, they say. Maybe they are right but did not tablets get the same type of comments?
Google Glass lets you capture pictures from a new perspective, experiment with augmented-reality (nothing to do with the virtual reality Victor told us), be always online…
“OK Glass”. This voice command is sent to the main menu in all the possible actions that can be commanded by voice or using the built-in trackpad on the right of the frame.
However, in order to use all the functions of this gadget, it still needs to be connected to a smartphone, because it cannot access to data connection or GPS on its own. Remember that glasses that people currently have are beta versions; therefore, the final version can be different from what we have seen. As well as mobile devices, it is logic to think that this kind of technology can revolutionise the way people work in some fields. For example, security forces are already interested in them, praiseworthy works of art, streaming medical operations and they have changed the way how some people practice sport.
So… Where does the problem lie? Some affirm that the fact that glasses make it possible to take pictures discreetly invades people’s privacy (what about camouflage cameras hidden in objects?). Others are convinced that these accessories-gadgets dehumanize us in a way that we become cyborgs and reduce our cognitive ability. Google presents its list of do’s and don’ts. For example, it recommends not doing water skiing with them (thanks Google) and not using the glasses in places where the use of mobile devices is not allowed. Hence, we have technophiles that defend glasses, critics that affirm theses glasses are not really revolutionary and some others with a more alarmist and catastrophic point of view.
After all, if you still think you want them, we are sorry, but there are not on sale. The release date –it is rumored that it will be at the end of the year 2014–, the price and the technical features of the last version are still unknown. Meanwhile, you can watch user’s experiences in the Glass Explorers Community, those who already have the glasses.
You can always get them through the Explorer Program, but you will need an invitation, be US resident, over 18 years old and pay $1,500 + tax. Good luck.
We do not have the visionary power of Steve Ballmer, thus we do not dare to predict the future of Google Glasses, but it is clear that they draw people’s attention and, in Factorsim, we cannot wait to try them. If someone has one and lets us use it, we promise we will take loads of freaky pictures and write a detailed analysis afterwards.