After years of speculation and teasers, Google's Project Glass augmented reality glasses are finally beginning to be tested in public. We're a long way from these glasses being a shipping product, but stay tuned here as we track every update, and our own experience, with the straight-from-the-future headset.
Dec 1, 2014
2015 will see Google launch a new model of its Glass headset, which will be powered by an Intel chip and offer longer battery life than the current Explorer Edition, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google Glass has already been through a couple of small iterative upgrades — one to add compatibility with prescription lenses and another to double the RAM — but the shift to a new processor could signal a more thorough overhaul of the entire wearable.Read Article >
Limited battery life and a forbidding, four-figure price tag have militated against Glass' widespread adoption up until now. With a more modern processor and a refreshed design, it could see consumer interest rekindled, though Intel seems more interested in promoting Glass as a workplace companion. The WSJ reports that the chipmaker's partnership with Google will include marketing Glass to "hospital networks and manufacturers, while developing new workplace uses for the device."
Jul 14, 2014
Babak Parviz, the man who founded and led the Google X project that gave rise to Google Glass, has moved to work at Amazon. Revealing the news on his Google+ page, the Iranian-American scientist describes himself as "super excited" but doesn't disclose any details about what he'll be developing next. The focus of Parviz's research so far has been the pursuit of an intelligent contact lens that would both obtain readings about its wearer through sensors and provide information via augmented reality visual overlays. In many ways, Google Glass is the compromise solution on the way to that goal.Read Article >
Now that he's joined Amazon, Parviz can be expected to expand on the company's efforts around optics, which are already a prominent part of the new Fire Phone. Amazon's Firefly feature is designed to recognize objects around you, while the Fire Phone's interface uses multiple front-facing cameras to adapt to your perspective. Parviz's interest in augmented reality should mesh easily with Amazon's pursuit of omniscience — both for and about its user.
Jun 27, 2014
In 1983, at a showing of Strauss’ Elektra, the Canadian Opera Company changed opera forever. It introduced a concept that its creator termed surtitles, which projected translated lyrics alongside the performers. It allowed viewers to read the dialogue as they heard it sung in German, rather than having to read the plot beforehand or buy a paper libretto with the text. It also launched a veritable culture war.Read Article >
To some, projections allowed audiences to appreciate operas on a new level. To others, they were a pointless, tasteless, even "pathetic" distraction. Metropolitan Opera music director James Levine was quoted in 1985 saying that the Met would show surtitles (often known as supertitles) "over my dead body." But today, supertitles are ubiquitous. Levine himself came around in 1995, when seat-back systems let individual patrons turn the titles off. A technology that was once despised had become indispensable.
Jun 25, 2014
Google Glass was totally invisible at I/O 2014.Read Article >
Two years ago, Google co-founder Sergey Brin had a friend put on Glass and stream his dive from a plane to the top of San Francisco's Moscone Center. The mood was one of excitement and almost awe — few people had even seen Glass in person at that point, let alone used it. Things were quieter at the I/O 2013 keynote, but workshops later in the week taught developers how to work with their headsets, which had started arriving just a month earlier. "There's a real opportunity for Glass to become mainstream," said product director Steve Lee in a fireside chat.
Jun 24, 2014
Google's plan to sell its Glass headset in an extended public beta test was a rather unusual move. It's not often you see consumer hardware get tested in public, particularly something like Glass that has raised a number of privacy concerns since it became available. However, Google says that the benefit of its extended public test period is that it can keep improving the device based on user feedback in advance of its eventual consumer launch — as such, the company is announcing a slightly modified version of Glass, both on the software and hardware front.Read Article >
The biggest change in terms of pure hardware is that Google has decided to double the RAM in Glass — headsets will now come with 2GB onboard. Through a combination of a slightly bigger battery and software enhancements, Google says that Glass will now last 15 percent longer between charges, as well. The extra RAM "will allow for more Glassware [apps] to run in parallel and for each Glassware to start more quickly," says Steve Lee, a Glass product manager. "You'll notice the device generally feels a bit faster and more reliable."
Jun 23, 2014
Google Glass is finally expanding beyond the United States and opening up sales in the UK. The Explorer program is accepting its first-ever international signups starting immediately. Glass is priced at £1,000 (around $1,700 USD), and UK buyers also have the option of purchasing prescription frames. If you're not ready to lay down that much cash right away, Google seems hopeful that a demonstration may sway you; it's planning to publicly showcase Glass in London on June 27th and 28th. The company will be setting up shop between 10AM and 8PM on Stable Street, and you can RSVP now to reserve your chance to sample Glass and chat with the Google employees responsible for creating it.Read Article >
Google launched its invite-only Explorer campaign last year, and in the months since Glass has proved equal parts promising and controversial. In May, the company finally ditched the invite system and began selling Glass to all comers. With today's first overseas launch, Google is taking another step to widen the reach of Glass and help a new country "share the world through their eyes." But like their US predecessors, these newest Explorers are still just beta testers; a consumer version of Google Glass remains in the works.
Jun 4, 2014Read Article >
Austin startup TrackingPoint is best known for its precision-guided firearms, expensive weaponry purportedly capable of turning anyone into a veritable marksman. In this minute-long concept video, the company shows how wearable technology can be used in conjunction with its products to further augment a person's shooting abilities. The testosterone-laced montage features a stern-faced, bearded man firing shots from unlikely angles while a narrator extols the system's benefits. Most notably, the technology the company is working on is supposed to allow "for accurate shots around corners, unsupported positions, behind the back, to the side, and around barricades."
Jun 3, 2014
Google has announced a new range of Google Glass headsets created in collaboration with fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg's studio, DVF. The range, the first Glass headsets designed by a company outside of Google to see release, has five new frames and eight shades in two styles. The designs will go on sale from June 23rd, and will be available from online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter and Google itself. DVF-designed frames with Glass and prescriptive lenses will cost $1,725, while von Furstenberg's sunglasses plus Glass will cost $1,620.Read Article >
The range, made in collaboration with Google and called "DVF | Made for Glass," will be shown off by von Furstenberg at a presentation tomorrow. Many of the wearables sport von Furstenberg's DVF logo, and range in design from elegant and understated frames with clear prescription lenses, to gaudy pink-and-teal shades that wouldn't look out of place in Ke$ha's accessory drawer. Von Furstenberg detailed the new headsets in an interview with Elle magazine.
May 24, 2014Read Article >
You'll never play tennis like Roger Federer, but that doesn't mean you can't see the court from his point of view. The 17-time Grand Slam champion donned Google Glass recently at the search giant's headquarters in Mountain View for a friendly sparring match with current coach (and former world number one) Stefan Edberg. As if elite levels of tennis weren't impressive enough, seeing it through Federer's eyes shows just how different the game they're playing is from your amateur efforts on the court. "It was really fun shooting this video," Federer tells the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). "It's not often you get to explore new angles of watching tennis. I hope fans enjoy this new perspective."
May 21, 2014
Police in Dubai have begun using Google Glass as part of an effort to crack down on traffic violations. An official with the emirate's police force confirmed to Gulf News this week that traffic officers are testing the wearable devices, adding that the department has already developed two custom applications: one to capture and upload photos of traffic violators, and another to identify wanted cars based on licensed plate numbers.Read Article >
It's not yet clear when police will start using the technology on a wider basis, but Colonel Khalid Nasser Al Razooqi, general director of smart services at Dubai Police, tells Gulf News that if the trials go well, the department would adopt the technology more broadly once Google Glass becomes available.
May 16, 2014
The NBA's love affair with Google Glass is continuing through the playoffs, with the Indiana Pacers adding a new feature to its in-stadium Glass live streaming: celebrities. The Eastern Conference team that's had one of the best records in the league this year already uses Glass to beam live pictures from around the court to its scoreboard, but now it's doing it with famous attendees donning the headset. The first of these new Glass-casters is NFL defensive end Robert Mathis, a longtime member of the Indianapolis Colts and last season's leader in sacks.Read Article >
The Pacers want to continue expanding the amount and variety of Glass content they offer to fans inside the arena, and are making some technical improvements along with adding the fresh courtside perspective. Texts can now be sent to the Glass wearer to give them directions and alerts for when they're about to go live. The Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings have also embraced Google's wearable, and throughout the league it seems to be the players themselves that are driving its rapid adoption. For the Pacers, it was center Roy Hibbert that first embraced Glass and served as its primary evangelist.
May 13, 2014
Just a month after letting anyone in the US buy Google Glass as part of a one day sale, Google's making it available to everyone once again. This time it doesn't appear to be a limited time offer, either. Google says it's built up its stock again, and wants to get the device in the hands of anyone who wants to buy it — as long as it's got the units on hand.Read Article >
Apr 11, 2014
With Google Glass, you can share with the world your viewpoint. With Facebook Fillings, for the cost of one tooth, you can share with your community everything you say the precise moment you say it. Every amazing speech, every grumpy utterance under your breath, every disturbing snippet when you talk in your sleep — all posted immediately to your public Facebook wall. The future is great!Read Article >
Apr 10, 2014
Google is about to make its biggest push yet to get Glass in the hands of as many people as possible. The Verge has obtained documents indicating that the company will open up its "Explorer Program" and make Glass available to anyone who wants to purchase a pair, possibly as soon as next week. It’ll be a limited-time offer, only available for about a day, and only US residents will be eligible to purchase the $1,500 device. Google will also include a free sunglass shade or one of its newly-introduced prescription glasses frames along with any purchase. An internal Google slide shows that the promotion may be announced on April 15th, though all the details of this program have yet to be finalized.Read Article >
While this program will make Glass available to anyone in the US who wants to buy it, Google makes it clear on the leaked slide that this is an expansion of its existing Explorer program, not a full consumer release (still expected for later in 2014). It sounds like Google simply wants to get the device in the hands of as many people as possible for testing and development purposes ahead of that launch. Alternately, it could be Google's way of clearing out Explorer edition stock ahead of the full consumer launch.
Apr 7, 2014
The premise of facial recognition app NameTag could have come from any number of science fiction stories. Start a conversation at a cocktail party. Look deep into the eyes of a stranger from behind a pair of glasses, and take a picture. Flicking your eyes away, check his Facebook account. His hobbies. His criminal record. Start a conversation about your shared love of David Lynch, or escape to the bar. The internet will tell you what to do. "With NameTag, your photo shares you," reads the site. "Don’t be a stranger."Read Article >
Face recognition technology has been under development since the 1960s, and its use has expanded in the past decade, accelerated by the September 11th terrorist attacks. Even before the attacks, security staff at the 2001 Super Bowl drew public attention when they scanned visitors’ faces to find known criminals (Time magazine dubbed it the "Snooper Bowl.") These were top-down, often covert forms of surveillance based specifically on law-enforcement databases.
Mar 24, 2014
Google just signed the deal that could allow its Glass wearable computing device to go mainstream. The company has announced a partnership with Luxottica, the eyewear manufacturer behind a host of brands including Ray-Ban and Oakley, to design and produce an exclusive collection of eyeglass frames that incorporate the technology. To start, the deal will be limited to the US market, and focus on Ray-Ban and Oakley. According to a Luxottica press release, the first collection will "combine high-end technology with avant-garde design offering the best in style, quality, and performance."Read Article >
Feb 25, 2014
Google's lobbyists are trying to stop states from limiting how drivers can use its Glass headsets. According to Reuters, the company is speaking to legislators in Illinois, Delaware, and Missouri in an attempt to derail distracted driving bills that would include wearable computing devices like Glass. These aren't the only states considering legislation. New York, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Maryland are all debating proposed Glass limits, and lawmakers elsewhere have warned that the glasses are just as distracting as a cellphone on the road. Last year, Arizona state senator Steve Farley called Glass a "clear and present danger" and urged Google itself to build in safeguards.Read Article >
No legislators in any of these states, have reported being contacted by Google, though New Jersey and Wyoming apparently did not respond to comment. Delaware's Rep. Joseph Miro, however, says lobbyists forwarded him an article about a recent distracted driving case in California, attempting to show him that courts weren't likely to prosecute Google Glass use. Last year, a San Diego woman was ticketed for wearing Glass, but officials later dismissed the citation, saying there was no way to prove the device was on. Issues like this will make it difficult to enforce anything other than a draconian ban on wearing headsets while driving — something that will be particularly difficult for people who integrate Glass into their prescription eyeglasses.
Feb 18, 2014
There's been plenty of fierce debate around Google Glass and general etiquette for using the device, and now Google is finally stepping in with its own take. The company has posted a list of do's and don'ts for participants in its Explorer program. "Our Glass Explorer community, which consists of people from all walks of life, actively participates in shaping the future of Glass," Google says. But these suggestions don't necessarily come from Google's senior leadership; instead, the company says its list of best practices is largely based on feedback from current Explorers.Read Article >
Feb 6, 2014
Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has spoken out against a Google Glass app that uses facial recognition to identify strangers. Yesterday, Franken published an open letter to the makers of NameTag, an app meant to match people's faces with photos from social media accounts or other online sources. "Unlike other biometric identifiers such as iris scans and fingerprints, facial recognition is designed to operate at a distance, without the knowledge or consent of the person being identified," he wrote. "Individuals cannot reasonably prevent themselves from being identified by cameras that could be anywhere — on a lamppost across the street, attached to an unmanned aerial vehicle, or, now, integrated into the eyewear of a stranger. "Read Article >
Because of Google's across-the-board ban on facial recognition, NameTag isn't an officially sanctioned Google Glass app. Nonetheless, it's currently available in beta, and the claims on its website are sweeping. "NameTag can spot a face using Google Glass' camera, send it wirelessly to a server, compare it to millions of records and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles," says the description. Right now, it appears to work with social media accounts, but the company behind it says it's also working on a system to scan profiles from dating sites and criminal databases like the National Sex Offender Registry.
Jan 29, 2014
Currently Google Glass lets you send messages, make calls, and do other standard things that smartphones can do, but it's still lacking in games. In an effort to get game developers on the Glass bandwagon, Google has demoed five minigames for Glass that are super simple, but which also show the gaming potential of the headset.Read Article >
By saying "Ok Glass, play a game," users can access the minigames from the main voice menu. Each game takes advantage of a specific Glass technology: Tennis uses the gyroscope and accelerometer to detect head tilts and hit the ball; Balance also uses the accelerometer to keep a bunch of shapes from toppling over; Clay Shooter uses voice recognition to shoot clay pigeons out of the air; Match has you pairing objects using head movements; and Shape Splitter has you slicing objects with your hands in front of Glass's camera. While all the games make use of Glass's sensors to interact with virtual objects, those objects don't seem to interact with anything in the real world â meaning these demos fall short of offering a full augmented reality experience.
Jan 28, 2014
Just shy of a year after the Google Glass Explorer edition started arriving on early adopters’ doorsteps, Google is announcing a way for people who need prescription glasses to use it. The company is releasing four different frames that can both fit the Google Glass hardware and accommodate corrective lenses. Glass is still limited to the small group of people who have been accepted into the "Explorer Program" (a wider consumer launch is planned for later this year), so while it’s good that these frames make Glass usable for more people, it’s not yet available to all.Read Article >
All four frames are available today for $225. That's alternately pricey or reasonable, depending on how you buy glasses, but any potential buyers will also need to spend $1,499 on Glass itself — which is to say it’s likely only those with a decent amount of disposable income would be interested anyway. If you’ve already bought Glass, you can just buy the frames and attach your current device.
Jan 27, 2014
"Finally, I'm not a slave to my stupid human eyeballs!" Lenny Leonard exclaims as he puts on his Oogle Goggles, a few minutes into Sunday's episode of The Simpsons, entitled "Specs and the City." In it, the citizens of Springfield look at Google Glass from a variety of angles, and come to a surprisingly human conclusion about an incredibly technical device.Read Article >
Everyone at the Springfield Power Plant receives their Christmas gift from Mr. Burns, and this year, instead of a Hound-A-Day Calendar or a stress ball that's a lot more terrifying than cathartic, they're all given "Oogle Goggles." The new augmented reality headsets essentially do two things: they let the wearer see information about the people and things around them, and let Mr. Burns spy on his employees in an elaborate scheme to curb office-supply theft around the plant. Like everyone he works with, Homer immediately takes to the Goggles.
Jan 21, 2014
Wearing Google Glass recently proved perilous for a movie patron in Columbus, Ohio. On Monday, The Gadgeteer posted a frightening story apparently from a member of the Glass Explorer program. An hour into watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit wearing his prescription version of Glass, he said, he'd been abruptly pulled from the theater and interrogated at length by "feds," who accused him of attempting to pirate the movie by recording it.Read Article >