"A meek endeavor to the triumph" by Sampath Jayarathna

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Confirmed: Google Glass arrives in 2013, and under $1,500

“OK glass…”

Get ready to hear that a lot.

Google Glass is Google’s new video-recording, photo-taking, GPS, social networking, everything-a-smart-phone-does gadget. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s essentially a tiny computer device attached to a lens and mounted on a pair of wire glasses. It’s a next-generation technology — largely voice controlled, hands-free, super-innovative and a little like something out of science fiction: utter “OK glass…” followed by a command and you activate the device.

I wasn’t aware that Google’s R&D department has taken futuristic forays like this before, working on such things as self-driving cars, for example, but this new communications headset might really hit the big time, and soon. It hasn’t even been a month since the unveiling of the Explorer program, an aggressive beta initiative of the Google Glass project, but Google is already saying they hope to get their product out to consumers in the very near future. Steve Lee, Glass’s product director, told a reporter that he expects Google to deliver by the end of this year.

Ambitious deadline aside, there is one all-important question remaining: will this product actually take off?

Google’s platform on Glass sounds reasonable. Google hopes that Glass will be “technology that’s there for you all the time, but not.” In other words, you’ll be wearing your smart phone on your head 24/7, but you can activate it only when you need it, without having to fumble around in your pocket or look down at a screen — all it takes is a voice command, a movement of the head or a swipe of your finger (the side of the device is actually a touchscreen).

Everything you see — the menus, the weather, your mom’s texts — is projected on the lens right in a corner of your field of vision. Likewise, whatever you see, exactly as you see it, can be recorded by the device.

Capturing a moment will no longer require you to look through a middleman technology, like a camera or your phone. You can document your field of vision with one simple command, which is both neat and scary.

Obviously, one of the big issues Google Glass has to deal with in the public eye is its unsettling potential to eradicate privacy. After all, if people buy into this, everyone will be walking around with a camera strapped to their heads, able to record anyone else in just a wink. People already feel vulnerable to recording as it is because of smartphones, so how will they feel about Google Glass?

Eventually, they’ll get over it. This thing could change social norms; it could go the way of the early 2000s phenomenon where we wondered whether passersby muttering into their Bluetooth devices were crazy. Ultimately, I expect everyone will get used to Google Glass and that the elegance, innovation and “sci-fi” appeal of Glass will be too difficult to resist.

“OK glass, look cool.” This, by far, seems to be the command Google Glass will find hardest to obey. At the end of the day, as technologically awesome as Glass is, it still looks like a thick-rimmed pair of glasses with most of the parts missing — like glasses without the glasses, so that what you end up wearing is a wide metallic bar across your brow. With the lens hanging over part of one eye, Google Glass reminds me of the power-level readers from Dragonball Z (for those of you who grew up watching Toonami).

Such a look is bound to earn you some weird looks, at least if you’re going to be the first to own such an avant-garde piece of equipment.

Nevertheless, I think this is another hurdle that Google is going to overcome by the sheer force of the project’s other cool features. It could be the next big thing, and if not, at least it’s daring.

—Writer, Luben Raytchev is a junior from Marietta majoring in biology and English
Read the original article here.

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