Google Glass and the Rainbow Unicorn that is Mobile/Virtual UI

Google Project Glass/the Verge (top), serial experiments: Lain/Geneon Ent.

Google’s done it again, taken a nascent technology and made it news. Silicon Valley gadget-cheerleader, Robert Scoble spotted Google founder, Sergey Brin, wearing the pictured device (right-top) at a Silicon Valley event. Scoble reportedthat he saw a light being emitted from the device, but Brin declined letting Scoble dawn the glasses himself, so the unit’s functionality could not be confirmed. When asked when the gadget might be available Brin said give them some time, and that it was mostly just rebooting for this field test. And like that everyone who covers the tech space (including several of my blogging friends) had to comment on what this might mean.

Well, one thing that it might mean is that all the speculation about Apple doing a seven-inch iPad and Samsung’s popular five-inch fablet suddenly becomes silly and passé. Really. We’ve been trying to dance around the limitations of how small and portable we can make our devices because we need screens that are big enough to give us meaningful information without any fuss and input methods that do what keyboards do without the bulk. Oh, and it has to NOT be as geeky looking as the virtual-reality-walker (pictured right-below Brin) with the welders-glasses/headphones combo and giant backpack filled with antennas and batteries to connect and power the thing.Yeah, that’ll never fly.

So, instead of staring at a handset we’ll be looking at a virtual field projected just above our direct line of sight. I had heard years and years ago that Sony was experimenting with using a laser technology to project an image directly into the wearers retinas such that it would appear that one was looking at a monitor of any chosen size/field of view. I can only guess that projecting lasers into one’s eyes was a stumbling block that Google might have found a work-around. So, perhaps Google has found a way to eliminate the need for a screen, at least for smartphone-class devices. That’s the first half of the small-device equation. Question is whether they’ve advanced the voice-recognition technology enough to eliminate the other requirement: flexible input that is easier and more efficient than previous modes (a la virtual keyboards and multi-touch). The blogs/pundits are having a field-day with the possible disasters that wearing these glasses might create (see second video below). Those not going for the easy joke have imagined that google should have included the ubiquitous google ads in their video.

If we can truly work around these two big limitations in our portable user interface it has the potential of changing the market just like the original iPhone change users expectations for their phones. Another layer of technology that sits between us and the content or connections would be reduced. The possibilities are limitless.

Before leaving this subject, I have one more nugget for you to consider. As great a step as something like Google Glass might present, what we are really looking for is a way for us to tap into our thoughts and have that level of interaction with our devices. Back in 2008 Cali Lewis and GeekBrief TV did a story on HID (Human Interface Design) and a group doing experiments at emotive.com. This is where we really want to go. Enjoy.

Resources:

ADmented Reality – Google Glasses Remixed with Google Ads, Published on Apr 5, 2012 by rebelliouspixels
When I saw Google had somehow forgotten to include any ads in their Project Glass promotional video I just couldn’t resist fixing that oversight for them.

So here is my slightly more realistic version of Google’s augmented reality glasses – now featuring contextual Google Ads!

Of course I’m exaggerating a bit here for visual effect to mimic the modern web browsing experience. Google will probably not be this obvious with their interface but there’s no question that the company will be gathering a massive amount of extremely personal data based on what you look at and for how long. The company may use this data mining to build even more detailed consumer profiles and/or sell über targeted ads. Because let’s face it, Google is really just a massive advertising company at heart.

Fun Fact: All of the AdWords used are actual Google ad returns found via Google searches based on the dialog, situation or setting in the original video. Yes “Music, Stop!” does actually return an ad asking if you would like to listen to music.

Google really can’t be too annoyed at this remix because after all I’m just putting Google Ads overtop of a Google video on Google’s owned video hosting service.

See the original Google video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4

UPDATE: This remix appears to have gone viral with over half a million views in 5 days. I’m happy the video has been part of the changing media story around Google’s “augmented reality” product from the initial uncritical view to a slightly more skeptical frame that at least raises concerns about privacy, personal data mining and “targeted” advertising.

FURTHER READING:
Back in February 2012 Sebastian Anthony wrote about the then-rumored Google glasses on Extreme Tech saying – “Remember, Google is ultimately an advertising company, where eyeballs directly translate into money — and it’s hard to get any closer to your eyes than a pair of augmented reality glasses. When you look at a car dealership, Google will be able to display ads from a competitor. When you sit in front of a computer, or TV, or stare through a shop window, the glasses will be able to track your head movements and report back on the efficacy of display ads. Perhaps most excitingly, when you read a newspaper or book or other static medium, Google could even overlay its own, interactive ads.”

Here is a link to that article:
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/119375-android-powered-google-glasses-th…

FAIR USE NOTICE:
This transformative remix work constitutes a fair use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US copyright law. “ADmented Reality” was remixed by Jonathan McIntosh and is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License permitting non-commercial sharing and remixing with attribution

  • image: Serial Experiments: Lain