By Rob Waugh
PUBLISHED: 12:08 EST, 4 April 2012 | UPDATED: 15:16 EST, 4 April 2012
Google has taken the wraps off techno-glasses which add emails, Google searches and even directions over your view of the world.
The glasses – unveiled via a Google Plus page, Project Glass, are voice-controlled, and offer GPS directions as well as email and video chat through a built-in screen directly in front of a user’s eyes.
The glasses are a product of Google’s ‘Google X’ blue-sky ideas lab – and the search giant is looking for ideas to improve them.
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The demo shows off Google Maps being ‘added’ to the real world – providing real-time directions from your current location
In demonstrations, the glasses are mainly voice-controlled, using voice commands to bring up contacts, send emails and search
The glasses appear to run a variant of the Android operating system, using the same microphone icon and other recognisable parts of Google’s mobile OS
The demo shows emails and other information ‘layered’ into a view of the world via screens in the glasses
‘We think technology should work for you—to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t,’ says Google.
The glasses appear to run a variant of the Android operating system, using the same microphone icon and other recognisable parts of Google’s mobile OS.
The glasses layer information ‘over’ the world, and offer directions – as well as allowing users to ‘locate’ one another in the real world, as with Google’s current Latitude system.
‘A group of us from Google X started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment, ‘says Google.
The service lets you locate nearby friends in a similar way to Google’s current Latitude service
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The demonstration shows off navigation information similar to what Google currently offers via its Maps service
‘We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.’
Various leaks had hinted that Google wanted to move into wearable computing.
‘Many of the features – voice commands, embedded camera, Google Maps integration – have been previously rumored, but it’s compelling to actually see them in action. Whether they will work quite as well in reality is, so far, uncertain,’ says ZDNet.
No release date has been confirmed for the glasses – nor has Google explained exactly how the glasses work.
The glasses also allow users to record and share videos from a built-in camera, just like on YouTube
‘Google X’ is where the search giant’s scientists work on wild, out-there ideas.
‘Google has always invested in speculative R&D projects – it’s part of our DNA,’ said a spokesperson when the first news of the lab leaked.
‘While the possibilities are incredibly exciting, the sums involved are very small by comparison to the investments we make in our core businesses. In terms of details, we don’t comment on speculation.’
The lab is reportedly located in Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters – known as ‘the Googleplex’.
Engineers are free to work on projects such as connected fridges that order groceries when they run low – or even tableware that can connect to social networks.
Other Google engineers have reportedly researched ideas as far-out as elevators to space.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin is reportedly deeply involved in the lab. His business card is said to be simply a piece of silvery metal decorated with the letter X.
Brin, a robot enthusiast, once attended a conference via a robot with a screen showing his face.
It’s not unusual for tech companies to have ‘ideas labs’ hidden away from their ordinary workers – at Apple, for instance, Jonathan Ive’s design lab where devices such as iPads are perfected, is guarded as if it was a weapons facility.