We ogle Google’s Goggles – will they boggle your mind?

by , Campaigns Team Technology 6 April 2012
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Ever wanted to wear your smartphone on your face? If so, then you’re in luck. Google has just unveiled its latest offering – a pair of super-hi-tech augmented reality specs. The future has truly arrived.

Google's glasses

Which? HQ has been buzzing with talk about a new video (watch it below) released by Google to introduce its aptly named ‘Project Glass’. Following reassurances that this definitely wasn’t an April Fool, I watched this remarkable video with a touch of scepticism.

To sum up, Google has created a heads-up display for your smartphone. Google’s future sees us walking around with our devices strapped to our heads, freeing up our hands for Ukulele solos and toasting coffee cups.

A vision of the future

But what benefits can this type of technology really offer us? On first glance, I thought it seemed a bit silly.

For starters, won’t having images projected directly into your eye-line be annoying, distracting and disorientating? Secondly, we’ve all been on the train and wondered whether that guy is really on his Bluetooth headset or just talking to himself. With these glasses, we’ll all be that guy. You can see what I mean by watching the video:

After trawling the web for reactions, loads of people have cottoned on to the potential for companies to engage in GPS-powered advertising. For example, you’re walking past your local McDonalds and suddenly, a voucher for a free burger appears in your eye-line. Is this creepy? Intrusive? Or would you find this service handy?

Glasses half full

Yet despite my initial reaction, I think I dismissed Project Glass too quickly. Overall, it sounds like people are pretty excited about this technology. Many commenters around the web think that these glasses could:

  • Help improve the quality of life for a range of disabled people by aiding them with everyday activities (such as audio walking directions for the blind).
  • Massively increasing the scope of augmented-reality gaming.
  • Bring tech into our lives in a seamless, unobtrusive way.

I’d love to give these glasses a try, so Google – if you’re listening – I’m available for testing. But do these glasses get you excited? Or is it simply too soon to tell? Can you think of any potential uses for this technology that Google hasn’t hit on yet?

12 comments

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Holli Day

I cant think of anything worse!!! However I’m glad you mentioned the possibility of its use as an aid to the disabled. I would have completely dismissed the idea but actually that makes perfect sense so I hope for that reason the technology is developed further.

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John Ward

I agree with Holli Day. It’s not for me but applications that will assist and enrich the lives of others are worth developing. However I do worry about the tendency of some new technology to turn us into morons.

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leafsolo

Like both Holli & John have said, this is a great idea if it can provide genuine enrichments to the lives of those who need it. However my natural cynicism says that corporations trying to sell us consumer goods will have a whole different perception of “enriching” our lives.

Aside from that though, my inner geek is screaming “that is cool!”

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janice

I agree with Holli, John and leafsolo in the hope that this tech will help enrich the lives of people with various disabilties.

Am also wary and hope that some kind of safeguard can be built in to stop ppl using them whilst driving.

And if Google is reading this page (and gets down as far as comment #4) I would also be happy to test out your glasses too!

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Lazza

I think this is sooo cool. However I can’t get my head around how one’s eyes can focus on something so close to one’s head. It sure seems to be the future.

Hi Lazza,

It kind of superimposes it into your field of vision, so you will focus on your surroundings and it will just be there. It won’t seem like it’s right next to your eye – a bit like the illusion of 3D.

Great idea and I hope to see them in contact lenses – the real problem I see is that technology is never THAT good. There’ll be errors, such as with a bad connection, and it could get annoying.

It may also lead to accidents, like in this mock-video:

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Sophie Gilbert

Just like many pieces of technology, this is an absolute marvel that will truely brighten the lives of some and turn others into imbeciles, and everything in between. Think of the telly and the computer, same thing.

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wavechange

This is an interesting novelty and could be great fun to play with, but it’s not something I would be interested in using on a regular basis.

Sometimes it is nice to escape from technology and just relax.

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MariaR

Makes me shudder! This would make me feel like a human Robot, or like a benign Terminator. It’s bad enough that cities are filled with people half removed from reality, cocooned in their audio bubbles courtesy of their ipods and smartphones, and this would just add an extra level of insularity. And with this device, they’d be talking to themselves too (“sweet, remind me to buy tickets”, etc). Just makes me want to go ‘ugh’!
(having said that, the sat nav feature could be helpful for me, but not sure I want it flashing in front of my eyes like that!)

After reading more about these glasses, I’m afraid my skepticism is starting to creep back in. Having used my own smartphone’s voice recognition software unsuccessfully on numerous occasions, I think we’ve got a long way to go before the vision in this video is realised.

On top of that, as Patrick mentioned, my 3G signal is forever dropping in and out. In fact, I always make sure I have printed directions to where ever I’m going to supplement my mobile phone’s sat nav.

As connectivity and seamless interaction are so vitally linked to the success of these glasses, I imagine there’s a lot of work yet to be done.

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M.

This is not new technology, it was assessed and dismissed many years ago as far too dangerous for Joe public.
But dear old Google always seems to jump in where angels fear to tread.
Let see how long it takes before some Yank walks in front of a car and sues them for several $million.

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