Google’s head of Google[x] Astro Teller took the stage today at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, to talk about the Mountain View company’s secretive experimental lab and the things that the team has learned over years of showing its ambitious projects to the world (via The Verge). Teller spent a lot of time talking about Google Glass—which is definitely one the better known projects to come out of Google[x]—and how this fame was actually part of where Google failed…
Google Glass in its current form has been on the market for going on two years now, and besides a couple of minor hardware iterations, the hardware—and its huge beta-test $1,500 price tag—has stayed much the same. A couple of different patents have surfaced in the past showing what direction the physical design of the device may be headed, but the latest one (via Quartz) seems the most plausible—and does the best job of not straying too far from the current “Explorer Edition.”
Since its initial unveiling more than two years ago, one of the biggest questions surrounding Google Glass has been its commercial viability. Reuters today has published a report, yet again questioning the long-term success opportunities of Glass. Sergey Brin, the head of Google’s X Lab which is responsible for Glass, was seen this weekend in public not wearing a pair. The Google executive remarked that he had left his pair in the car when asked by a reporter.
Chardan Capital Markets analyst Jay Srivatsa believes that a combination of two Google investment decisions could signal that the company is planning to take “a different direction” with Google Glass, reports StreetInsider.
Srivatsa noted that Google had decided against further investment in Himax, a company specialising in controllers for conventional head-mounted micro-displays, at the same time as investing in virtual reality startup Magic Leap … Expand Expanding Close
Glass may be getting closer to being a full-blown consumer product, according to a few changes to the product’s terms of sale. Although the search giant recently made its high-tech eyewear available to the public, it’s widely referred to as still in beta. About a week ago, Google revamped its sales terms for Glass, adding an updated “Prices and Taxes” section.
Glass may be available to the public, but with a $1,500 asking price and limited locations to test it out, you’re still likely to have your reservations about Google’s wearable. However, on July 26th Mountain View will be bringing its high-tech eyewear to the great city of Boston. From 10am – 6pm local time, the festivities will take place at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts for one day only.
Google X director and former head of Google Glass Babak Parviz said at the Wearable Technologies Conference that the company’s product is “one answer” but “not necessarily the definitive answer,” reports CNET.
Parviz, who last month stepped aside from leading the Glass team in favor of the more fashion-focused Ivy Ross, described the product as a first step in the right direction.
This is a nice first step to where we want to go. We can see glimmers of how this might work out …
Since the initial release of Google Glass at Google I/O last May, people have been calling for the ability to attach prescription lenses to the product. Over the last month, talk of this has heated up with images of Glass with prescription lenses being leaked and much more. Today, however, Glasses company Wetley has released its prescription frames and lenses for Google Glass and they are available for ordering now, dubbed GGRX.
Easily mounted, no tools required – takes seconds to mount/dismount
Frame is stainless steel – 30% lighter than typical frame materials – extremely durable
Lens are polycarbonate – highly impact resistant and durabl
Comes with Crizal Premium Anti-Reflective coating at no additional cost – reduces eye fatigue and strain
Made decision early to eschew cheaper materials (plastic frame, CR-39 lenses.)
Can accommodate almost any prescription
Also offer lens upgrades, tinting options, and anti-fog coating (some units, not all)
The frames are made of stainless steel and the company touts that the mounting process is incredibly simply and requires no tools whatsoever. There are a variety of options available for purchase and they start at $99. The first option is the frame only. In order to get lenses, you would have to take the frame to your local optometrist. The next option are single vision prescription lenses, which start at $149.99. Next up are progressive prescription lenses at $249.99. Sunglasses with a gray tint and no prescription are available for $139.99, while sunglasses with prescription capabilities are also available.
GGRX frames are available now at OpticsPlanet.com. Full press release after the jump:
I’m not always in full agreement with Wired’s Mat Honan, but his I, Glasshole piece definitely struck a chord with me and my mostly similar experiences with Google Glass. I can agree with almost everything he’s said on the experience of owning and operating them, at least to an extent.
The biggest point to bring home is the outward awkwardness, but I wouldn’t characterize it as 100% negative across the board like Honan’s experience. He said that even in a room full of Wired writers he’s still ostracized for wearing them. That may be true, but at certain events like his Google event image, they felt pretty normal. I wasn’t at the one pictured, but at Google I/O every 4-5 people at the show were wearing them, even if Google’s own presenters weren’t. No one was uncomfortable in that environment. I imagine it isn’t uncomfortable at Google or any number of the places that are beta testing the Glass in large numbers relative to the population.
At home or in the general public, I agree – it is definitely jarring wearing them around. You get the same kind of attention that you’d get if you had a massive headwound at the grocery store or if you were waving a light saber around on the way to the coffee shop. The attention isn’t entirely negative, but it is certainly one of discomfort and curiosity. Some people ask about them and want to find out what the experience is like. I’ve let tons of people wear mine, and those who’ve tried have usually thought they were ‘cool’.
I’ve found a good way to mitigate the attention is to wear a low lying baseball cap coupled with the Oakley Blades wrap around shades attachment. With this setup, about 90% of the people don’t notice the Glass and just think you are some dork wearing Oakley Blades from 1987. Clearly, Google could innovate here – getting them on normal glasses hides the appearance. They’ve already promised a prescription lens attachement and even shown off some demos.
The 2014 model Glass, as I am now calling them, won’t do much for the appearance. The inclusion of a mono or stereo headset is just going to complicate the setup rather than simplify it. Note the left stereo earpiece comes out of the same right side hole as the right side ear piece.
I feel a little claustrophobic looking at them, and I imagine the final consumer version will have the earpiece coming out of either the back or the other side of the glasses.
As we look to the end of 2013 and turn around to see the Google of the last year, we know it’s been a good year. Forget concerns over Google’s purchase of Boston Dynamic’s Robotic program and the joke notion that Google and Skynet will eventually be one. This is a company that surpassed the 1,000 share price in the stock market and brought Google Glass to market as a new form of wearable technology. With these stories and more in mind, let’s take a look at the top 5 Google stories on 9to5Google in 2013. These stories were selected in order by the amount of traffic they had in a single 24 hour period and don’t necessarily reflect the importance of the story itself. In other words, these are the stories you read the most over the course of this year.
It appears that the modified Glass unit has a slot in the top into which the glasses are fitted. It looks from the photos like quite a few designs of prescription glasses and sunglasses would be compatible with the unit.
Roll-out of Glass Explorer program is very gradually expanding, with existing Explorers recently invited to buy Glass for a friend after previously being given three invitations to pass on back in September.
Rumors that Samsung plans to launch a Google Glass competitor have been lent further credence by a design patent uncovered by the WSJ.
While it’s not the first glasses patent Samsung has filed – this one was granted back in March – the latest one does look much closer to something that might actually be launched than the previous design … Expand Expanding Close
Scoble does note that this is still a rumor at this point, but hopefully we’ll get some more details soon. While previous reports claimed that Google Glass could be available for everyone to purchase by the end of the year, Google confirmed earlier this week that Glass will not begin shipping to consumers until at least 2014.
Google is today rolling out its Field Trip app, previously available only on Android and iOS, to those lucky enough to be part of its Google Glass explorers program. While the Google Glassware version of the app appears to offer a slightly stripped down version of the virtual tour guide experience, the hands-free experience with Glass seems to be a natural fit for Field Trip. John Hanke, who is in charge of the Niantic Labs project at Google told Cnet that Field Trip was actually “conceived with Glass in mind, but Glass wasn’t ready.” Expand Expanding Close
Google has just published a short update on Google+ notifying the public of a name change for its infamous wearable technology. Formally referred to as ‘Project Glass,’ Google will now official begin calling the product ‘Google Glass,’ at least through Google+ and its other online marketing. The 105-word post notes that the product has grown substantially since the start of its Explorer program and most people already refer to the wearable product as Google Glass, making the ‘Project’ prefix no longer necessary. You can learn more about Google Glass here.
For those of you out there that have both a Tesla and a pair of Google Glass, here’s an exciting app. A developer has released an app dubbed GLASSTESLA that lets you control your Tesla via Google Glass. The app allows you to do things like manage the charging process, lock and unlock the car, honk the horn, flash the lights, and much more.
If you’ve parked your Tesla Model S somewhere and can’t find it, GLASSTESLA allows you to locate it on a map, but if that doesn’t help you can honk the horn and flash lights from the app, as well. You can also see what doors are open, as well as both the interior and exterior temperatures of the car. The biggest features, I think, surround the charging process… Expand Expanding Close
Via the official Project Glass page on Google+, Google has announced a major software update coming soon to Glass. The update includes things such as more voice commands, improved web browsing, new ways to connect with family and friends, and more.
First off, a host of new voice commands will be available with this update. If you get a text, you can now ask Glass to read it to you by saying “ok glass, read aloud” or if someone calls you, simply say “ok glass, answer call.” Finally, you can now share pictures right away by saying “ok glass, share with [name].” Expand Expanding Close
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be slowly rolling out invitations to successful #ifihadglass applicants. If you were one of the successful applicants, please make sure you have+Project Glass in your Circles so we can send you a message.
We’re thrilled to be moving into the next phase of our Explorer Program and we hope to expand in the future. Unfortunately, we aren’t taking any more applications right now, but you can sign up here to stay informed: google.com/glass/start/how-to-get-one
@llsethj You’re invited to join our #glassexplorers program. Woohoo! Make sure to follow us – we’ll DM in the coming weeks.
At this point, at the very least, we already know that Google’s augmented reality glasses are capable of snapping a photo. However, we do not have much of an idea of how the UI might work other than what is in the initial concept video. Our sources previously indicated that Google was using a “head tilting-to scroll and click” for navigation of the user interface. Today, we get a look out how the company is experimenting with alternative methods of input for the glasses from a patent recently granted by the United States Patent & Trademark Office and detailed by PatentBolt.
According to the report, the highlight of the patent is how Google’s glasses could work with hand gestures. The patent described various hand-wearable markers, such as a ring, invisible tattoo, or a woman’s fingernail, which could be detected by the glasses’ IR camera, to “track position and motion of the hand-wearable item within a FOV of the HMD.” In other words, the wearable marker, in whatever form factor, would allow the glasses to pick up hand gestures. The report also noted multiple markers could be used to perform complex gestures involving several fingers or both hands: Expand Expanding Close