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GOOGLE GLASS

In June last year, four skydivers, all equipped with Google Glass hardware, jumped of a zeppelin and live streamed their feat to their friends and family watching on a Google+ Hangout. They were demonstrating one of the many cool features that Google Glass has to offer.

A wearable computer with a head-mounted display (HMD), Google Glass has been in the news for more than a couple of years, however, not many are aware of what it is and what it can do.

Here is a wrap of some of the important Google Glass features, hardware and software specifications, app development opportunities and the most important question – when will the buyers be able to get their hands on a pair of Google Glasses?

Form and Functionality:

Lighter than a pair of sunglasses, the device has a 1GB RAM, displays information on a visual overlay and runs on an Android 4.0.4 and higher platform. Based on the initial prototypes, a 640×360 display is expected to be standard for the prism projector type display.

Features:

1. Voice Recognition

Google Glass recognizes “voice actions”. So if you want to activate the device, you’d say “O.K., Glass” or click pictures by saying “Take a picture”. And whisper other commands like:

  • Record a video
  • Hangout with [person/Google+ circle]
  • Google ‘Web designing company in Australia’
  • Give me directions from ‘Perth to Melbourne’
  • Send a message to ‘4LIFE Innovations’
2. Record Videos, Click Pictures

The device allows you to click pictures (5-megapixel camera) and shoot videos (720p video recording) without touching the hardware. You can then store them on the 16 GB flash memory. Of course, there are apps to help you share these on social networking websites and email.

3. Live Video Sharing

Show the world what you are seeing. Enjoy universal connectivity through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and micro USB. However, owing to its potential to intrude privacy, this feature has also faced the maximum amount of criticism… but more of that later.

4. Read Messages

The device can display and allow you to reply to emails and text messages – through voice commands of course!

5. Google On Your Mind

Now, can there be a Google product that doesn’t interface with other Google apps? Google Glasses allows you to Google Search – you need to simply ask a question and the device will pull the answer from the www.

Other applications include Google Maps – to chart the course you journey or look up directions, Google Now – the digital voice assistant, Google Translate, Google+ and Gmail.

App Development for Google Glass:

While there isn’t an implicitly stated business application for Google Glass the makers have expressed their unwillingness to allow advertising on the platform (yet). However, the company is calling for “bold, creative individuals” desirous of testing the device.

Several third party app developers are working on new apps like facial recognition, photo manipulation, etc. Recently, Google announced the release of seven new apps for the device.

Challenges

Like most other scientific breakthroughs, Google Glass is facing its own share of challenges like privacy concerns, safety issues and legal hurdles. Features like Live Video Sharing, Facial Recognition, head-mounted display while driving (projection of content into your field of vision), are in violation of several privacy laws and other legalities in different parts of the world. In addition, there is a petition calling President Obama to ban Google Glasses for its potential for violating public privacy.

However, while those things sort themselves out, as an introductory price, the Developer version of the Google Glass Explorer Edition is available to a select few at USD 1500.

The retail version is probably a year away!