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Google Glass: The Future is Now!

Last updated on: May 9, 2013 11:00 IST

Google Glass: The Future is Now!

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Google Glass's price simply isn't good enough to justify a purchase. It does represent the next step in mobile computing, however. It is the first real hands-free wearable computer and also the most portable one till date. While it doesn't boast the latest technology, or the best battery life, or even the most functionality (not to mention privacy concerns), Glass's full potential is yet to be realised.

In the past two decades, computers have gotten smaller and smaller. It's no stretch to think that the mid-range smartphone from HTC or Samsung will be more powerful than a computer made a decade ago. But as computers have become more portable, there was always the vision that they would one day be fully integrated into our daily lives.

This forms the principle of wearable computers. These are devices that are incorporated into one's clothing and wardrobe. We've come a long way from having to actually "wear" the computer as part of our daily dress however thanks to the new Google Glass.

Google Glass is a singular, spectacle shaped device that fits on to one's head like eye wear. With its relative portability, there has been both celebration and concern.

Will Google Glass represent the next big leap in mobile computing or become an enormous breach in privacy?


Photographs: google.com/glass/start
Tags: HTC , Samsung

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Google Glass: The Future is Now!

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The technology behind Google Glass

Google Glass uses an old TI OMAP 4430 processor, and has 1 GB of RAM along with 12 GB of hard disk space. This is incorporated in a small plastic unit on the right side of the device.

Glass's main interface is a transparent display that fits over one's eyes like sunglasses. This is supposed to be similar to having a 25-inch HD display just 8 feet from your eyes according to Google. However, the resolution for the display is actually 640x360. The battery rests in a small segment just behind the user's right ear.

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Photographs: google.com/glass/start

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Google Glass: The Future is Now!

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Google Glass connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. If you're not in an area with Wi-Fi, you can tether the device to your smartphone via Bluetooth to stay connected.

This also allows one to make phone calls. To start using the device, you have to install MyGlass on to your smartphone and have Glass identify the QR code that appears.

You'll be signed into your account and can then configure settings for Glass. From then on, the device is always connected, be it through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. As of now, there is no option for switching connectivity off.

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Photographs: google.com/glass/start
Tags: Bluetooth

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Google Glass: The Future is Now!

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There is also a 5MP camera embedded in the device. It allows for taking pictures and videos and uploading them to YouTube and Facebook.

It's important to note at this point that there are still problems for Glass when it comes to actually wearing it.

The presence of the plastic unit over the right hand side of the device makes it a little unbalanced. While there are plenty of help videos from Google, Glass is even more difficult to use for people who already require glasses.

As such, Glass can't be used as a standalone device for helping people see better (at least, not at present). So those who want to utilise Glass as a replacement for their standard eyewear will be out of luck.

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Image: A model displays new product 'Glass by Google' at the Diane von Furstenberg Spring/Summer 2013 collection show during New York Fashion Week September 9, 2012. The show was used as a launching event by Google.
Photographs: Andrew Kelly/Reuters
Tags: YouTube , Google

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Google Glass: The Future is Now!

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Google Glass also reportedly has a poor battery life, lasting for no longer than five hours.

Did we mention that it currently costs $1500 for the basic Explorer Edition, which is only available to those who pre-ordered it at Google's I/O last year?

And while it may be shaped like eyewear, you can't fold it and place it in your pocket when not in use. There is a special case available to place Glass in, which just adds to the load you'll be carrying.

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Photographs: google.com/glass/start

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Google Glass: The Future is Now!

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What can you do with Glass?

Google Glass allows you to do just about anything you can do with your smartphone's Google functions.

For example, you can search using Google and find different details with the company's search engine. Glass can also serve as a navigation tool to provide directions from one location to the next.

Combined with Google Now, you can view different cards containing useful information related to your searches.

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Photographs: google.com/glass/start
Tags: Google

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Google Glass: The Future is Now!

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You view information on Google Glass by either swiping away at information in front of you or using voice commands. You can also tilt your head up and in different directions to see information in front of you.

Voice commands allow one to dictate e-mails, messages, and search for different items, perform calculations and even start Hangouts on Google+. Calling friends is easy as well, as you simply need to speak the word "Call" along with the name of your contact.

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Photographs: google.com/glass/start

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However, there are problems. You need to perform several gestures to be able to read email in Glass -- something which isn't advised while one is driving. The voice dictation isn't perfect, and you can only compose mails and messages by voice.

Make one mistake and you have to go back and do it all again. Hangouts are also limited to those in your own Circles on Google+. Right now, you can't initiate Public Hangouts.

Other problems arise with the limited app selection.

Facebook and Twitter still work fine, and there will be more additions in the future. For now, this is a strictly Google-centric device.

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Photographs: google.com/glass/start
Tags: Circles

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Google Glass: The Future is Now!

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Privacy in the face of Glass

The biggest concern with Google Glass, however, is with privacy.

As stated, you can't fold the device up like ordinary sunglasses. You'll be carrying it all the time, and even worse, it's nearly impossible for others to tell when you're recording video. There is no indication light or anything -- just the faint recognition of the display being turned on, which most won't be able to identify except on closer inspection.

This creates problems when speaking to normal people, as can be seen even in the face of news cameras and the like. Not everyone will be comfortable speaking if they know they're being recorded, and the device itself isn't so inconspicuous as to be ignored.

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Photographs: google.com/glass/start

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Through the looking Glass

Google Glass's price simply isn't good enough to justify a purchase. It does represent the next step in mobile computing, however.

It is the first real hands-free wearable computer and also the most portable one till date. While it doesn't boast the latest technology, or the best battery life, or even the most functionality (not to mention privacy concerns), Glass's full potential is yet to be realised.

Reader Invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Photographs: google.com/glass/start

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