Google Glass Project Still ‘In Flux’
January 2, 2013

Despite Much Anticipation, Google Glass Project Still ‘In Flux’

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

There are some ideas that reach so far into the future that we can´t help but want that future now. However, it is also important to remember that our notion of ℠the future´ may have been skewed over the years by all manner of sci-fi books and movies. While these advancements and devices have inspired many of today´s gadgets, (the iPad is a clear example) they may not have a place in the ℠real world´.

Take, for instance, Google´s Glass. These hyper-futuristic glasses are expected to work as a cellphone and mobile computer, providing augmented reality and camera functionality inside a pair of spectacles.

Yet, as cool as walking around with a pair of Internet-connected specs may sound, even Google is having problems understanding what exactly these glasses will do as well as how to market them.

Yesterday, IEEE Spectrum published an interview with Google Glass´ head Babak Parviz wherein the executive explains where the team is in the project, saying many of the features of Google Glass remain “in flux.” The same publication also has a story detailing how to build your own Google-Glass like product, should you grow overly impatient waiting for Google.

When Google first made public mention of Glass last spring, the device was touted as being capable of displaying weather and location-aware alerts, providing walking directions, snapping photographs and even video conferencing, all controlled by gyroscopes and voice. Now with the project “in flux,” Parvis says that some of these features will not make it to the first iteration of the device.

One of the main features of the Glass prototypes was its augmented reality (AR), which would allow wearers to get information about a building or a city just by looking at it. Parvis has now said this functionality may not make it into the glasses for some time.

“I would say that even though augmented reality isn´t our immediate goal for Google Glass, I think in the future that augmented reality will also come into the picture,” said Parvis in his interview with IEEE Spectrum. “I personally find it exciting, and I think in the future it will actually come.”

Google has wisely kept their Glass cards close to their chest since the first “unveiling” in April 2012 and the subsequent skydiving “demo” aired last summer during their I/O developers conference. Though the first unveiling in April was nothing more than a video shot from a first-person perspective with on-screen animations meant to demonstrate what the actual functionality of the glasses could be, Google has never claimed these glasses will actually do any of these things, only that the possibility exists.

According to Parvis, the first model of Glasses to ship may not work exactly like the introductory video suggested.

“Right now, we have a touch pad on the device that allows people to change things on the device if they wish to do so. We have also experimented a lot with using voice commands. We have full audio in and audio out, which is a nice, natural way of interacting with something that you´d wear and always have with you. We have also experimented with some head gestures.”

This year Google will begin shipping out the first iteration of their glasses to those developers who paid $1,500 to get their hands on the futuristic specs at last summer´s I/O conference. And it is these developers who may come up with the right angle for the Google Glass project.

While Parvis and his team may feel like they´ve got a great idea on their hands (or heads, as it were) they have yet to nail down what exactly these devices will do, how they will do them, and how to sell them. At this point, Parvis has been very clear on one feature of the Google Glasses. No advertising.