April 3, 2013
China’s Baidu Looking To Be A Google Glass Rival
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
On April Fool´s Day, Google stuck with tradition and released a series of videos unveiling a number of fake products. One of these products was called “Google Nose,” and though it was said to be in Beta, the product promised to deliver scent-based search results to PCs and mobile devices. We all had a good laugh.While Google was “fooling” people in America with their ridiculous product announcements, the Chinese press was busy running a mostly fictitious story about China´s largest search engine, Sina Baidu, and a pair of futuristic glasses much like Google´s Glass.
Now, two days later, a Baidu spokesperson has said that some elements of this story were actually true, namely that Baidu is internally testing a Google Glass competitor.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Kaiser Kuo said: “There is an internal project we are working on, a small internal test, but we´re not even certain it will ever be brought to market.”
These glasses will work in a similar way to Google´s Glass in that there will be an interface displayed on a small LCD screen. Kuo explained that the LCD screen could also operate much like Google's Glass, complete with the ability to take photos and video.
“It´s all about visual search on images and voice command. These have been a part of science fiction since the Fifties but now they´re becoming reality,” said Kuo.
Should Baidu decide to move forward with these plans, it´s likely they´ll draw even more comparisons to Google. As the largest search engine in the country, they´re already referred to as the Google of China. In an interview with Reuters, Kuo said these comparisons are coming a little too early, considering that the company hasn´t yet decided if they´ll even bring this product to market.
"We haven't decided whether it is going to be released in any commercial form right now, but we experiment with every kind of technology that is related to search," said Kuo in a statement to Reuters.
Kuo was short on details, saying since the product is still in testing stages, it´s too early to begin touting its features.
Yet, in his interview with TechCrunch, Kuo spoke directly against the April Fool´s Day piece which listed specific hardware vendors which Baidu may be partnering with to build these Google-like glasses.
The Monday piece claimed Baidu was working together with Qualcomm to provide chips for these new glasses. Kuo said this isn´t true, noting that even he hasn´t been invited to play with the prototype yet.
Kuo has also confirmed that a picture which circulated with this story of a man wearing a head-mounted display was taken inside Baidu´s offices, but could not say if this was the prototype in question or some other device.
Google has, of course, been making some waves in the tech circles with their progress in the Glass project. In February, Google announced that they´ll begin selling these futuristic specs by the end of the year for $1500.
Not everyone is in love with these yet-to-be-released glasses, however. One Seattle “dive bar” has said they´ll ban the glasses in their establishment, while the state of West Virginia is looking to ban the use of these glasses while driving.