A wearable computer? Yeah, right. Oh, wait…

That’s a rough summary of most people’s thought processes when first encountering Google Glass, Google’s latest and most exciting prototype. Resembling a pair of glasses, this product is set to change the face of wireless technologies, and bolster the use of cloud computing worldwide.

Here we list a few aspects of Google Glass to store in the memory bank before it hits the commercial market.

google glass 2013

Google Glass is the future!

The idea’s been peddled in sci-fi for years, however it appears that the future is now with the advent of Google Glass. A device aimed at allowing data to roam free from your laptop and portable devices, putting it literally right in front of your eyes, this revamped set of specs can bring you search results, record voice memos, give you directions, and even translate spoken and written words in real time.

While there is nothing necessarily unique about any of Google Glass’s proposed functions, its wireless connectivity, voice-activation control, and the fact that it’s a wearable computer have justified the frenzied interest in how this new technology will develop. Apple and Microsoft are already rumoured to have their own versions of this technology in development, with a host of other companies also joining the race. Game on.

Google Glass is an intentional product

Google Glass is basically an extension of your smartphone which can be used to perform basic tasks – it is also worn on the head like a pair of glasses.  Now, this sounds very cool and groundbreaking (and it is), however Google Glass is by no means the finished product – and it’s not supposed to be. Rather, it has been designed specifically to spawn and inspire further inventions: the potential for expansive hardware and software applications stemming from Google Glass is immense.

Its current release has been limited to an assortment of developers and journalists, with an express interest in observing how the product is used in practice. There is no ceiling on the possible uses for Google Glass, rather practical trial and error will help determine the best ways in which to market and brand this device.

Google Glass is hands-free, and obeys your every command

Well, maybe not your every command, but its inbuilt voice activation technology will pave the way for far more sophisticated devices of this kind. Google Glass’s microphone, combined with Google Now, conveniently connects you to the search engine. By simply saying “Okay Glass,” or tilting your head upwards, you can issue a command or inquiry and have Google provide you with its best possible answer.

Similarly, by telling your Google Glass to take a photo it will immediately capture whatever you happen to be looking at, meaning no priceless moment will be able to slip away into the ether while you fumble around with your DSLR or iPhone. With the capacity to record live video as well, the possibilities for extreme sports coverage and real-life tutorials seem to swell.

Google Glass works best on Android

This Google-devised device does, and most likely will continue to, enjoy its best compatibility with Android devices. However, it will be usable with any Bluetooth-enabled device, and will reap the benefits of Wi-Fi connections.

Native Android applications run smoothly on the current device, however much tinkering is still required, including finding more justification for the inevitable constraints of this technology – how do you navigate Android with so few operational options? Once again this serves as a proof of concept for Google Glass rather than a finished product, however there is no denying that the potential is there.

Google Glass will be controversial

A face-locator to help you recognise faces in a crowd; a GPS tracking device; an inbuilt video recorder – all voice-operated and all achievable by simply facing in the direction of your target.

Google Glass is not designed to be a sinister extra tool for spies and perverts (though plenty of conspiracy theories are already popping up, particularly considering Google’s tightening grip on the Internet). However, its ease of use and functionality has naturally inspired debate over its ethical use in the future – arguably, without much good reason.

As the device currently exists, its use as a surveillance device is limited: 20 minutes of recording and the Glass’s battery will deplete. Of course the open-endedness of Android will encourage a minority to misuse the device, yet this is not a problem unique to Google Glass – this is not to sweep the actions of that minority under the table, but rather to prevent a cloud of unjustified distrust from building over the device.

Some bars and clubs in America have pre-emptively banned Google Glass from their premises over privacy concerns, however there’s a sense that this stems more from a desire for attention and notoriety than an actual practical concern.

Google Glass is awesome

Alright, maybe there’s no empirical evidence that points directly to this conclusion, but I think we can all safely say that even the small amount of features covered in this short article point to a device that is going to single-handedly reshape the future of wireless technologies.

The competition that Google Glass has ignited already suggests that there is a long road ahead for the wearable computer, with the capabilities of such a computer set to snowball. Google’s developers can afford to pat themselves on the back, though – they’re not spies or conquerors, they’re pioneers.

 

Rob Johnson is a media graduate and freelance writer who will never aim derogatory comments at those who wear glasses again. The capabilities of managed cloud computing devices have softened his heart.

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