Google’s “Project Glass” offers vision of the future

Google has given the world a glimpse of its vision for letting people look at life through internet-tinted spectacles. It posted a brief introduction to Project Glass, including photos and a concept video, on its Google+ social network on Wednesday. “We think technology should work for you, be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t” members of the project team said in a Google+ post. Images showed people wearing eyeglasses with silver frames that featured tiny cameras and on-lens displays to show information such as walking directions, weather forecasts or messages from friends. A built-in microphone lets wearers instruct the internet-linked glasses by speaking.

The video shows one user being reminded he has a date that evening when he looks up at a blank wall, and then warns him that there is a 10 per cent chance it will rain when he looks out of the window. Google glasses warn the subway service is suspended. The video suggests that the device would involve a GPS chip to help deliver location specific alerts. An alert pops up when a friend sends a text asking if he wants to meet up later in the day. When the user dictates a reply a microphone symbol is superimposed over much of his view.

Other functions include Google Maps showing a route to the wearer’s destination with small arrows keeping him on track, the ability to take a photo of what the wearer is looking at with an option to share it with friends, and a video conference service.

The New York Times newspaper had previously suggested that the first set of glasses would go on sale before the end of the year for somewhere between $250-$600. A Google insider said it was unclear when the glasses might be commercially available, but noted that the philosophy of Google was to develop technologies that could be used in a relatively short period of time, rather than dreaming up creations that won’t be possible for 10 or more years.