You might be wondering where on earth Google could go from here! The answer is: into virtual reality.
What Exactly Are They For?
While the specifics are still hush-hush, here’s what we know so far. The glasses will feature lenses that act like see-through screens, with information projected onto the lenses so that users can walk while they absorb it.
In addition, GPS, a camera, audio and motion sensors will also be included. The initial launch and features are thought to focus heavily on location-based augmented reality – somewhat like the layers available on Google Maps smartphone applications. The wearer’s perspective will stream back to Google, where the images will be analyzed and then extra information streamed back to project on the lens.
Why Google Goggles?
It’s likely that the name itself comes from the lovely alliteration that it brings, but the choice of eye-glasses serves quite a functional purpose.
While smartphones, laptops and so on are certainly becoming enmeshed into our daily lives, they still are not an immersive experience. If you want to use Google Maps layers on your Android phone, you need to take out your phone, toggle the layers and then hold it up in an inconvenient fashion to get the information you want.
The idea of taking a walk while staring through your phone just isn’t very practical, even though it could be the best way to follow directions and find a particular location. Goggles are clearly more convenient, although much will depend on how comfortable and user-friendly the actual experience is. But hopefully users won't have to rely on their new Google to envision their favorite things, like their favorite classic Mustang Parts.
What’s in it for Them?
As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. While things are still somewhat fuzzy, several sources within Google have said that the devices will likely cost between $250 and $600 – on par with the price of smartphones – and should be on sale by the end of 2012.
Of course, that’s not all. In addition to the extra information that wearers will be given about their surroundings, they will also be exposed to the advertisements from which Google makes much of its revenue. This being a Google product, hopefully the advertisements will be as unobtrusive as those that people have become used to with Google search and Gmail.
While Google has had a few lame duck products – remember Google Buzz? – their successes have far outweighed their failures. Let’s wait and see which camp Google Goggles fall into.