Last week saw the launch of Google Glass smart glasses in the UK. Much anticipation and controversy has surrounded Glass and this post will outline what Google Glass are, what they can be used for, and the apps currently available for the futuristic device.
Effectively a head-mounted computer, Google Glass combines eyewear, modern computerisation and internet connectivity to display information like a smartphone in a hands free format. Though the standard Google Glass do not have lenses as one may assume, they have a battery powered small prism-based translucent display screen which sits above the right eye. It’s a bit like having your smartphone built into a pair of glasses whereby users simply glance upwards to view what is on display. The transparent display creates the illusion of a 25 inch screen floating about 8ft in front of the wearer’s right eye which is only visible to the user.
Google Glass does not work without a smartphone which is required to provide all of its data. Wearers can communicate with the device and get commands executed through swiping the right hand armature, the touchpad, or by way of a voice command. Google Glass can perform functions similar to a Smartphone and to activate the glass, users state ‘O.K., glass’ in their natural language followed by their command, for instance ‘…take photo’; ‘…send message’ or ‘…give me directions to…’.
Google Glass is available in five different colours and the firm has introduced a range of frames for prescription lenses or to work as sunglasses, including frames by Diane Von Furstenberg.
Although the product is still in development stage, apps have been developed for Google Glass with a range expected to be developed as the kit becomes more established. Apps that are currently available for Google Glass include CNN News; the Guardian; music recognition software, Shazam; Runtastic – a fitness app which guides users through their workout and keeps track of their progress – and Star Chart, an astronomy app. The battery is expected to last around a day of moderate usage.
The search engine giant first announced Glass in April 2012, and although initially limited to US based developers, they were put on general release in the country in May 2014 for $1,500 (£881). As aforementioned, Google Glass is now available in the UK for £1,000 with the kit being targeted at developers rather than consumers as the glasses are in beta phase. The consumer version of the glass is expected to be released in the UK relatively soon with the kit also expected to cost less.