Google Glass is an exciting wearable computing project that the company hopes will be ready for consumers by the end of 2013. The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky recently got to demo Google Glass for himself — something that only a select few outside of Google have done.
While it’s generated plenty of buzz, Google has been very quiet about the technical specifications of Glass, and even what it can actually do. This past week, Google made a concerted effort to show people what it’s like to wear Glass. In addition to a video and a new gallery of Google Glass photos, the company even got cozy with a bit of press — Topolsky relayed his Google Glass demo in an editorial and the video below wherein he interviews product director Steve Lee and lead industrial designer Isabelle Olsson:
One interesting thing to note from Topolsky’s experience with Glass is that he says using it is very similar to what Google showed in a recent video:
Let me start by saying that using it is actually nearly identical to what the company showed off in its newest demo video. That’s not CGI — it’s what Glass is actually like to use. It’s clean, elegant, and makes relative sense. The screen is not disruptive, you do not feel burdened by it. It is there and then it is gone. It’s not shocking. It’s not jarring. It’s just this new thing in your field of vision. And it’s actually pretty cool.
Would You Wear Google Glass?
Topolsky, who I’ve always thought of as a huge nerd, repeatedly wonders “who would want to wear this thing in public?” It’s a strange question for me to read because I’d wear Google Glass in public in a second. But then again — I’m a huge nerd. That said, I don’t think that Glass looks dorky. I actually think it looks pretty damn cool. Am I alone?
However, Topolsky sounded ready to wear them in public by the end of his Google Glass demo:
…I walked away convinced that this wasn’t just one of Google’s weird flights of fancy. The more I used Glass the more it made sense to me; the more I wanted it. If the team had told me I could sign up to have my current glasses augmented with Glass technology, I would have put pen to paper (and money in their hands) right then and there. And it’s that kind of stuff that will make the difference between this being a niche device for geeks and a product that everyone wants to experience.
But that’s beside the point. For me, the real determining factor in wearing Glass would be how useful it is.
At the moment it seems like there is a limited set of things that Glass can do. Take a picture, record a video, search Google, get directions, read/respond to texts and maybe a bit more. That’s great, but if Google expects people to wear these things around on a regular basis, it’s going to need to do more. I’d need to do a Google Glass demo for myself to see how useful it would be before pulling the trigger.
Google almost definitely understands this, and that’s one reason why they hosted two ‘Glass Foundry’ developer events in late January / early February. At these events, folks who pre-ordered Glass for $1500 from Google I/O 2012 were able to try out Glass and were broken into teams to develop useful functionality for the device. Unfortunately, those events were locked down with a strict NDA, so we’ve yet to hear much about what types of Google Glass apps were developed.
I imagine they’ve got a lot of work yet ahead of them if the Google Glass release date is expected to be in 2013. While I’d love to see Glass launch at Google I/O 2013, that’s less than three months away — likely too early. We’ll probably see it closer to the holidays.
So far the Google Glass price has been $1500 for pre-orders, but I’m doubting they’ll sell many to the mainstream at that rate. $500 or less seems like a more reasonable price, but would still be hard to justify for many — $200 would probably be the sweet spot.