by Mark Ollig
During an early morning breakfast last Sunday, conversation came up regarding a new technological apparatus called Google Glass.
The word, glass, had me thinking about Corning’s Gorilla Glass, which is used on many smart mobile devices’ display screens.
“So, why is Google going into competition with Corning?” I pondered.
The second cup of coffee brought yours truly into a fuller state of consciousness, and I recalled something about Google working on a pair of futuristic, computerized eyeglasses.
My first thought was of someone wearing eyeglasses outfitted with special lenses that somehow connected to the Internet.
I have since learned it is not Google eyeglasses, rather, it’s a small rectangular glass cube display screen, attached to what looks like an eyeglasses frame.
It is called Google Glass.
This small glass display cube is attached to the upper-right side of an aluminum headband containing computing processing capabilities.
This headband is worn like eyeglasses and has nose pads similar to what are used on regular eyeglasses.
However, there is no right or left eyeglass attached to the headband.
When worn, a person uses their right eye to glance toward the upper-right hand corner of the inside of the eyeglasses-like frame, where the Google Glass display cube is attached.
This glass display cube is a real display screen – your eye sees what is proportionately equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen as viewed from eight feet away.
The central computing processor for Google Glass uses the Android 4.0.4 operating system.
Google Glass carries out your commands via its voice-recognition capabilities.
To get Google Glass’s attention, you begin each command with, “OK, glass.”
For example, while walking, you come across something you wish to take a picture of. Instead of fumbling for your mobile device with the camera app, you would simple issue the verbal command, “OK, glass; take a picture.”
Google Glass would take a picture of what you’re seeing on the Glass cube display.
To record a video of what you are seeing, you would say, “OK, glass; record a video.”
Google Glass uses a 5-megapixel camera attached to the right-front side of the glass cube. It’s also used for recording video at 720p.
To search your Glass-stored pictures, say, “OK, glass; Google photos of [search query word].”
The Google Glass headband holds 12GB of memory for pictures and video, and is synced with Google’s cloud storage.
It also incorporates Google Now, which is similar to Apple’s Siri personal assistant program.
To ask Glass a specific question, say, “OK, glass; [your question].”
Using Google Maps on Glass for seeing directions is accomplished by saying, “OK, glass; give directions to [place].”
Google Glass will perform voice commands for sending your messages, displaying the current weather, and even getting airline flight details.
For connecting with social media friends on Google+, say, “OK, glass; hang out with [person/circle].” Glass will take you to the person or circle you have specified and provide a two-way video conversation.
If you’re in Italy and want to know the translation for the word, breakfast, say this command, “OK, glass; say breakfast in Italian.”
Audio is heard using Bone Conduction Transducer technology. A person wearing Google Glass will hear audio via amplified sound-wave vibrations through their skull, instead of from their ear.
Google Glass links to the Internet via Wi-Fi, and has built-in Bluetooth technology.
One can connect a Bluetooth enabled phone with Glass to make and receive phone calls by issuing the command, “OK, glass; make a call to [name or number].”
Google Glass is powered using an internal battery, and includes a Micro USB cable and charger.
After watching videos explaining Google Glass, I have come away thinking it is like replacing an iPhone or smart device, with a pair of intelligent eyeglasses.
So, instead of holding onto a smartphone, we may soon be wearing Google Glass.
There have been safety questions raised about wearing Google Glass while driving, and it is thought this may not be permitted, as it could be considered a distraction, but I have not heard any final decisions regarding this.
Of course, when Google’s self-drivable cars hit the market in 10 years, the concern about wearing Google Glass in a Google car that drives itself may become a moot point.
Google has stated we will not need to worry about seeing pop-up ads while wearing Google Glass.
I have my doubts.
Yours truly foresees Google Glass wearers walking past a restaurant or other place of business, and seeing or hearing a message tempting them to stop in and take advantage of the noon lunch special or, of a sales discount being offered.
No official Google Glass pricing has been released; however, $1,500 is the price currently circulating throughout the tech rumor mill.
Google Glass is scheduled to become available to the public in early 2014.
To see what wearing Google Glass looks like, check out http://tinyurl.com/cujnyse.