Google eyed

Would you want the upcoming Google glasses?

By the end of the year, Google will be selling glasses ($250 to $600) that can stream information to your eyes in real time. Stare at a bridge, and Google will give you information about the bridge. Stare at Sofia Vergara, and Google will become flustered and urge you to buy flowers for your wife.

You scroll and navigate when wearing the glasses by tilting your head. “We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users,” Seth Weintraub, a blogger for 9 to 5 Google, noted.

Nick Bilton at the New York Times reported: “The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees. The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly — although Google expects some of the nerdiest users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed….

via Google’s cyborg glasses – ComPost – The Washington Post.

Could this be the point at which consumers say “enough,” preferring to go unplugged and to see things directly without an overlay of “information” and advertisements?  Or do you think this will be a killer product?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    That’s awesome! Like the tricorder in Star Trek!

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    That’s awesome! Like the tricorder in Star Trek!

  • Tom Hering

    Much of our outside environment, and much of our inside environment (including our TV and computer screens at home, and the prominent logos and warning labels on everything) is already overlaid with “information” and advertising. This is just one more layer. You can, at least, turn it off / take it off.

  • Tom Hering

    Much of our outside environment, and much of our inside environment (including our TV and computer screens at home, and the prominent logos and warning labels on everything) is already overlaid with “information” and advertising. This is just one more layer. You can, at least, turn it off / take it off.

  • WebMonk

    I doubt it’ll be a “killer app”, but that’s probably because the glasses’ style will be a far cry from the Gucci or Oakley trendsetting looks.

    If they were able to get the interface to work with some really trendy glasses, then it’ll be a smash success! Partially because at the point where they can display information on a cool looking set of shades, they can also display anything on those shades.

    If people can get their smartphone’s screen to display on a sweet looking set of sunglasses or shades they will.

    Are these Google glasses going to be like that? Probably not. The statement that they aren’t intended to be casually/regularly worn sends up some warning flags to me.

    But, assuming the tech can be shrunk down enough, and made to work with awesome looking glasses, it will most definitely happen.

  • WebMonk

    I doubt it’ll be a “killer app”, but that’s probably because the glasses’ style will be a far cry from the Gucci or Oakley trendsetting looks.

    If they were able to get the interface to work with some really trendy glasses, then it’ll be a smash success! Partially because at the point where they can display information on a cool looking set of shades, they can also display anything on those shades.

    If people can get their smartphone’s screen to display on a sweet looking set of sunglasses or shades they will.

    Are these Google glasses going to be like that? Probably not. The statement that they aren’t intended to be casually/regularly worn sends up some warning flags to me.

    But, assuming the tech can be shrunk down enough, and made to work with awesome looking glasses, it will most definitely happen.

  • Kirk

    I simultaneously find the idea awesome and horrifying. On the one hand, walking around with a HUD on your glasses is so science fictiony it makes me want to explode. And it’d be kinda cool to get info in real time on the things you’re looking at.

    On the other hand, that could be really annoying. I just imagine myself sitting in Yosemite, enjoying the view and then my glasses telling me about National Parks and Ansel Adams, etc. Your own experience and perception is a huge element to enjoying and appreciating something, quite apart from the hard facts of what you’re looking at. I can see some element of wonder and exploration being destroyed by having tid-bits about what you’re seeing scrolling in front of your eyes. Frankly, it’s something I don’t want or need.

    Furthermore, you’re basically allowing yourself to be constantly tracked and monitored by Google, who already tracks and monitors me enough, thank you very much. I don’t need to literally wear a homing beacon for their advertisers.

  • Kirk

    I simultaneously find the idea awesome and horrifying. On the one hand, walking around with a HUD on your glasses is so science fictiony it makes me want to explode. And it’d be kinda cool to get info in real time on the things you’re looking at.

    On the other hand, that could be really annoying. I just imagine myself sitting in Yosemite, enjoying the view and then my glasses telling me about National Parks and Ansel Adams, etc. Your own experience and perception is a huge element to enjoying and appreciating something, quite apart from the hard facts of what you’re looking at. I can see some element of wonder and exploration being destroyed by having tid-bits about what you’re seeing scrolling in front of your eyes. Frankly, it’s something I don’t want or need.

    Furthermore, you’re basically allowing yourself to be constantly tracked and monitored by Google, who already tracks and monitors me enough, thank you very much. I don’t need to literally wear a homing beacon for their advertisers.

  • WebMonk

    Kirk, if you have an Android smartphone of any type, you are already wearing a “homing beacon for their advertisers”. Same thing for an iPhone, but for a different company.

    These glasses wouldn’t offer anything significantly new as far as tracking you for advertising goes.

  • WebMonk

    Kirk, if you have an Android smartphone of any type, you are already wearing a “homing beacon for their advertisers”. Same thing for an iPhone, but for a different company.

    These glasses wouldn’t offer anything significantly new as far as tracking you for advertising goes.

  • #4 Kitty

    If we’re talking (even potentially) a sort of mp3 player for the eyes then I’m definitely in. I never go anywhere without my playlists!

  • #4 Kitty

    If we’re talking (even potentially) a sort of mp3 player for the eyes then I’m definitely in. I never go anywhere without my playlists!

  • MarkB

    I think it is an interesting thing to try. I might though be the newest gadget for geeks and fail there. Or it might become the newest must have thing, it is hard to tell right now. I can see uses for this technology for things like the military right now. Can you imagine using it with a high definition video camera instead of the low resolution one they are talking about using. It could extend the range of the soldier’s vision. Give him distance for ranging. Maybe even look around corners without sticking his head out there. I myself might be overwhelmed with the information and miss the bump in the road, trip and fall down.
    I could also see this type of thing being used for technicians trouble shooting machinery. Having the tech manual right there in your sight at all times.
    Realistically though, if it does catch on it will submerge the wearer further into themselves and whatever they are watching on the glasses. As we know from the use of cell phones (calls, texting, reading email, etc.) when we are distracted we lose contact with the real world and things happen (car crashed, walking into telephone poles). This might be magnified with this technology. So we might become isolated strangers, while inside of a crowd. Lost to our own interaction with the machinery.

  • MarkB

    I think it is an interesting thing to try. I might though be the newest gadget for geeks and fail there. Or it might become the newest must have thing, it is hard to tell right now. I can see uses for this technology for things like the military right now. Can you imagine using it with a high definition video camera instead of the low resolution one they are talking about using. It could extend the range of the soldier’s vision. Give him distance for ranging. Maybe even look around corners without sticking his head out there. I myself might be overwhelmed with the information and miss the bump in the road, trip and fall down.
    I could also see this type of thing being used for technicians trouble shooting machinery. Having the tech manual right there in your sight at all times.
    Realistically though, if it does catch on it will submerge the wearer further into themselves and whatever they are watching on the glasses. As we know from the use of cell phones (calls, texting, reading email, etc.) when we are distracted we lose contact with the real world and things happen (car crashed, walking into telephone poles). This might be magnified with this technology. So we might become isolated strangers, while inside of a crowd. Lost to our own interaction with the machinery.

  • Kirk

    @5 Flip phone 4 life!

  • Kirk

    @5 Flip phone 4 life!

  • Tom Hering

    “Something wrong, officer?”

    “You were wearing glasses. License and registration, please.”

  • Tom Hering

    “Something wrong, officer?”

    “You were wearing glasses. License and registration, please.”

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    It sounds cool, but I have to wonder how long it will be before the “information overlay” consists primarily of pop-up acai berry dieting secrets and local insurance savings secrets…

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    It sounds cool, but I have to wonder how long it will be before the “information overlay” consists primarily of pop-up acai berry dieting secrets and local insurance savings secrets…

  • http://www.aclutteredmind.org Kevin Sorensen

    I see no one has taken Gene up on the “killer app” comment. I think we’ll see more problems with distracted drivers, distracted walkers and joggers and just flat out more distracted people. Imagine it, my congregation can watch me being live-streamed while they’re watching me preach on Sunday mornings! (Ha! You laugh, but at a recent conference–for pastors, no less–a pastor was live-streaming the speaker, who stood speaking a few dozen feet in front of him…with the volume up…on a five-second delay…now that’s distracting).

    I think some who think this is a wonderful idea might want to read Nick Carr’s book, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Yes, we have access to far more information than ever, and we’re less intelligent, less bright and less educated than ever before. Ouch!

  • http://www.aclutteredmind.org Kevin Sorensen

    I see no one has taken Gene up on the “killer app” comment. I think we’ll see more problems with distracted drivers, distracted walkers and joggers and just flat out more distracted people. Imagine it, my congregation can watch me being live-streamed while they’re watching me preach on Sunday mornings! (Ha! You laugh, but at a recent conference–for pastors, no less–a pastor was live-streaming the speaker, who stood speaking a few dozen feet in front of him…with the volume up…on a five-second delay…now that’s distracting).

    I think some who think this is a wonderful idea might want to read Nick Carr’s book, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Yes, we have access to far more information than ever, and we’re less intelligent, less bright and less educated than ever before. Ouch!

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    No, Google already knows too much about my life. Besides, I am already over connected, I don’t need a HUD to connect me further. I also really hate heavy glasses, they bug my nose.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    No, Google already knows too much about my life. Besides, I am already over connected, I don’t need a HUD to connect me further. I also really hate heavy glasses, they bug my nose.

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    My techie nerdy side absolutely loves this idea.
    My paranoid side is thinking of Mildred sitting in front of the TVs in Fahrenheit 451. We don’t read we get dumb and lifeless.

  • http://www.whenisayrunrun.blogspot.com Andrew

    My techie nerdy side absolutely loves this idea.
    My paranoid side is thinking of Mildred sitting in front of the TVs in Fahrenheit 451. We don’t read we get dumb and lifeless.

  • formerly just steve

    Next step, link this up with Facebook’s database of tagged pictures and you’ll never have to wonder what someone’s name is. Walk down the street and look at someone and, if they have their picture tagged in Facebook, you’ll instantly know their name. All in accordance with their privacy policies, of course. It’ll start out like everything else, as an opt-in feature. Then it will just be a standard feature that nobody thinks twice about.

  • formerly just steve

    Next step, link this up with Facebook’s database of tagged pictures and you’ll never have to wonder what someone’s name is. Walk down the street and look at someone and, if they have their picture tagged in Facebook, you’ll instantly know their name. All in accordance with their privacy policies, of course. It’ll start out like everything else, as an opt-in feature. Then it will just be a standard feature that nobody thinks twice about.

  • MarkB

    Dr. Luther in the 21st Century @12″I also really hate heavy glasses, they bug my nose.”

    Wait long enough and there will be a direct interface to your mind so you won’t need the glasses.

  • MarkB

    Dr. Luther in the 21st Century @12″I also really hate heavy glasses, they bug my nose.”

    Wait long enough and there will be a direct interface to your mind so you won’t need the glasses.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @15 Only if I can upload kung-fu, the ability to fly a helicopter, and hot wire a motorcycle.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    @15 Only if I can upload kung-fu, the ability to fly a helicopter, and hot wire a motorcycle.

  • formerly just steve

    Tom, #9, “You were wearing glasses. License and registration, please.”

    The officer will be wearing the same glasses and will know your license and registration once they look at you.

    Gotta get them terrorists you know.

  • formerly just steve

    Tom, #9, “You were wearing glasses. License and registration, please.”

    The officer will be wearing the same glasses and will know your license and registration once they look at you.

    Gotta get them terrorists you know.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Can we get them with phasers too? :D

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Can we get them with phasers too? :D

  • John Drake

    “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

  • John Drake

    “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m not sure how familiar people are with the technology here, but none of it is new. Heads-up displays (HUDs) are certainly pretty old, and while I don’t know of any reasonably priced consumer version for glasses, I’m bet the military’s had that for a long time, too.

    As for “augmented reality”, that already exists on my phone. I can go to a busy Portland street, pull up my Yelp app, and point the camera at the street to see a picture of the street overlaid with labels telling me about various restaurants and shops there. I also have a stargazer app that tells me what planets or stars I’m looking at when I hold my phone next to them. All Google is doing is putting the pieces together in a particularly Google fashion.

    Apparently. I mean, I have good reason to suspect this product will not see the light of day. But then, I said that about the iPhone, too. So who knows?

    Sounds like the usability will be annoying, at the very least from a social standpoint. If you thought Bluetooth users were awkward, wait until the guy next to you starts weaving his head oddly all of a sudden!

    Still, this is just a change in degree, not anything new. In a sense, it’s just an amped-up version of those weird telephone things you walk around with in museums to learn about works of art you’re standing next to. What’s nice about those is that you’re all bumbling around inside a museum, so at least you’re pretty safe and there with other bumblers. The Google goggles will doubtless lead to stupid people being even stupider.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m not sure how familiar people are with the technology here, but none of it is new. Heads-up displays (HUDs) are certainly pretty old, and while I don’t know of any reasonably priced consumer version for glasses, I’m bet the military’s had that for a long time, too.

    As for “augmented reality”, that already exists on my phone. I can go to a busy Portland street, pull up my Yelp app, and point the camera at the street to see a picture of the street overlaid with labels telling me about various restaurants and shops there. I also have a stargazer app that tells me what planets or stars I’m looking at when I hold my phone next to them. All Google is doing is putting the pieces together in a particularly Google fashion.

    Apparently. I mean, I have good reason to suspect this product will not see the light of day. But then, I said that about the iPhone, too. So who knows?

    Sounds like the usability will be annoying, at the very least from a social standpoint. If you thought Bluetooth users were awkward, wait until the guy next to you starts weaving his head oddly all of a sudden!

    Still, this is just a change in degree, not anything new. In a sense, it’s just an amped-up version of those weird telephone things you walk around with in museums to learn about works of art you’re standing next to. What’s nice about those is that you’re all bumbling around inside a museum, so at least you’re pretty safe and there with other bumblers. The Google goggles will doubtless lead to stupid people being even stupider.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FJSteve (@14) said:

    Next step, link this up with Facebook’s database of tagged pictures and you’ll never have to wonder what someone’s name is.

    This problem already exists, and we basically just have to hope that Google continues, by sheer force of good will, to not connect its databases. After all, there’s a large community of users of Google’s Picasa photo albums, in which people have tagged faces in photos with names (which may also be attached to further profile information). If you’ve ever used Picasa, you know that Google uses biometric analysis to guess when an untagged face in a photo might be someone you’ve already tagged — and it is a remarkably good guesser!

    Point being, the Google App that’s on my iPhone could already, if Google wanted, start identifying people who pass in front of my phone’s camera. They’ve intentionally disabled this feature (I read somewhere; can’t locate the article just now) because it creeps people out and is a potential PR disaster. But for how long will it remain so?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    FJSteve (@14) said:

    Next step, link this up with Facebook’s database of tagged pictures and you’ll never have to wonder what someone’s name is.

    This problem already exists, and we basically just have to hope that Google continues, by sheer force of good will, to not connect its databases. After all, there’s a large community of users of Google’s Picasa photo albums, in which people have tagged faces in photos with names (which may also be attached to further profile information). If you’ve ever used Picasa, you know that Google uses biometric analysis to guess when an untagged face in a photo might be someone you’ve already tagged — and it is a remarkably good guesser!

    Point being, the Google App that’s on my iPhone could already, if Google wanted, start identifying people who pass in front of my phone’s camera. They’ve intentionally disabled this feature (I read somewhere; can’t locate the article just now) because it creeps people out and is a potential PR disaster. But for how long will it remain so?

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    off thread a bit-
    re: post below this one- Satan-
    I call it the Dark side-
    please assuage my concern about HSLDA and PHU-
    http://therepublicanmother.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-letter-from-hsdla.html
    Thanks-
    C-CS

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    off thread a bit-
    re: post below this one- Satan-
    I call it the Dark side-
    please assuage my concern about HSLDA and PHU-
    http://therepublicanmother.blogspot.com/2012/01/my-letter-from-hsdla.html
    Thanks-
    C-CS

  • SKPeterson

    Begin to combine a light-weight HUD with these: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/21/rb3d-develops-hercule-robotic-exoskeleton-boosts-strength-witho/

    virtually linked to these:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_SCAR

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/armyweapons/a/m110.htm

    and we’ll soon have this:

    http://startswithabang.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/_44689042_skynet4_inf466.gif

    and then

    http://startswithabang.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/terminator4.jpg

    I should note that the SkyNET meme is almost as bad and overly used in tech discussions as Hitlerian analogies are in other venues.

  • SKPeterson

    Begin to combine a light-weight HUD with these: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/21/rb3d-develops-hercule-robotic-exoskeleton-boosts-strength-witho/

    virtually linked to these:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FN_SCAR

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/armyweapons/a/m110.htm

    and we’ll soon have this:

    http://startswithabang.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/_44689042_skynet4_inf466.gif

    and then

    http://startswithabang.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/terminator4.jpg

    I should note that the SkyNET meme is almost as bad and overly used in tech discussions as Hitlerian analogies are in other venues.

  • Elise

    I wander if they can spechalize the lenzes for people like me who need glasses to see. Also, how would you charge the glasses, turn them on/off, etc. What if it shows you information you don’t want to know, like stare at a statue of Abe Lincoln and it gives you the information about the statue, but you really want the history of Abe Lincoln, the man.

    I like the idea of haveing glasses like these, but I’m not sure they’d really work.

  • Elise

    I wander if they can spechalize the lenzes for people like me who need glasses to see. Also, how would you charge the glasses, turn them on/off, etc. What if it shows you information you don’t want to know, like stare at a statue of Abe Lincoln and it gives you the information about the statue, but you really want the history of Abe Lincoln, the man.

    I like the idea of haveing glasses like these, but I’m not sure they’d really work.

  • helen

    About Abe Lincoln’s life, there is a technology for that. It’s called a book.
    You can use it in the comfort of your easy chair, no standing on the street, staring. :)

  • helen

    About Abe Lincoln’s life, there is a technology for that. It’s called a book.
    You can use it in the comfort of your easy chair, no standing on the street, staring. :)

  • Grace

    Killer product? No, I don’t think so!

    I wouldn’t be interested at all. I see things as they are, my mind taking in information, and photographing what I observe.

    I can’t imagine anything more boring then to be directed (in a way) as to what’s before me.

    Then there are all the nut cases who walk down the street text messinging or talking on the phones, ply this with the GOG glasses, and out pops the indvidual who cannot interact with their friends, or think for themselves.

    It’s just you and your iPhone, texting, computer, GOG glasses, and TV, what a joke!

  • Grace

    Killer product? No, I don’t think so!

    I wouldn’t be interested at all. I see things as they are, my mind taking in information, and photographing what I observe.

    I can’t imagine anything more boring then to be directed (in a way) as to what’s before me.

    Then there are all the nut cases who walk down the street text messinging or talking on the phones, ply this with the GOG glasses, and out pops the indvidual who cannot interact with their friends, or think for themselves.

    It’s just you and your iPhone, texting, computer, GOG glasses, and TV, what a joke!

  • PinonCoffee

    Andrew @ 13 – yep on both sides. Except I was thinking this is very Wall-E.

  • PinonCoffee

    Andrew @ 13 – yep on both sides. Except I was thinking this is very Wall-E.

  • Pingback: Google Glasses To Enhance Users’ Normal Sight With Computational Information | EssayBoard

  • Pingback: Google Glasses To Enhance Users’ Normal Sight With Computational Information | EssayBoard


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X