Although not due for public release until 2014, the first few ‘Explorer’ and ‘Reviewer Units’ are now out in the wild. The latest google buzz has begun – and somehow, I think this one will fare better than Google Buzz. I’ll go further than that, and say it’s potentially one of the most important consumer products of all time. Read on to find out why.
In a nutshell, Google Glass is a pair ‘glasses’ that have a projector screen positioned just above your right eyebrow, that displays information about the world around you. They’ve got a built in camera and microphone and a touch sensitive panel. The current guess is the price point will be around the £130 – £320 mark.
Input is triggered by saying “OK Glass…” followed by all the usual things we turn to the internet for – maps, translation, search, etc. The ‘augmented reality’ vision isn’t quite what some people feared it would be – Sci-Fi film esque floating personal profile bubbles based on face recognition (although google have the technology, google have the data) and the like, but never the less, they’re creeping some people out in an Orwellian kind of way.
What is interesting though, is the hype. The buzz these have created in Geeksville and Techtown. Google played up on this nicely – I had an offer to get my hands on a pair, but I’d have to fork out $1,500 and attend a special ‘pick-up experience’ in New York to get my hands on them. I passed, but by all accounts, the offer was snapped up.
Listening to This Week In Tech this morning, two of the panel were wearing Glass. A fascinating real work discussion took place about how these were actually getting used. Use cases like snapping photos were described. How a solution to going into a public bathroom, of putting them on top of your head so fellow toileteers knew you weren’t recording them, could well be a new standard in manners. How, when arriving at an airport, laden with two armfuls of bags, Glass thoughtfully told the wearer, which gate he should head for. Handy.
But surely – you can do all that Glass offers with an off the shelf smart phone. Why is this one of the most important products of all time? Because you’re wearing it. It’s part of you. That’s the game changer. That’s the inflection point. We’ve seen wearable, internet ready technology before -things like The Pebble Watch but we’ve never seen a mainstream tech giant approach this space before, and a mainstream tech giant that already has the platform that runs this world – Android – pretty much nailed.
I predict we’re going to see an upsurge in demand, matched by an upsurge in supply from the other brands. We’re going to see the early adopters paving the way for a huge desire for this ‘make your life better’ product – and bear in mind, this is only the first installment in what will probably a multiple product revision lifespan.
My generation are currently able to tell our quizzically disbelieving kids that we survived for years in a world without the internet and the mobile phone. Their kids are possibly going to look at them with the same expression about living in a world without wearable (perhaps even surgically), and contact technology.
Still not convinced? Feast your eyes on this video from google and tell me you wouldn’t mind a pair.