Skip

A different kind of Google goggles.
April 4, 2012 1:13 PM   Subscribe


 
So...send a video stream of pretty much your entire life to Google. Can't see how anyone would have a problem with that...
posted by mullingitover at 1:20 PM on April 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't want to live in a world where I can't just wander in a book store searching for a friend.
posted by Fizz at 1:23 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm disappointed. The demonstration video makes it look like it would be awkward to use, overly clutter the visual field and provide a questionable benefit. I'm sure that someone will invent a really awesome augmented reality glasses product, but this isn't it.
posted by humanfont at 1:23 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


How do you select stuff? Is it just a head motion-tracking gyroscope or is there actually an eye-tracking camera in there? Have the specs been released?
posted by exhilaration at 1:24 PM on April 4, 2012


I'm sure that someone will invent a really awesome augmented reality glasses product, but this isn't it.

Life 1.0
posted by Fizz at 1:24 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


*awaits Beer Googles™ app*
posted by jimmythefish at 1:24 PM on April 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


They forgot the part where the constant advertising blinds him temporarily and he steps in front of a bus.
posted by mikesch at 1:26 PM on April 4, 2012 [46 favorites]


And the ipad is going to suck too, I mean, who wants the iphone but too big to put in your pocket. I mean, imagine holding that thing up to your head.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:28 PM on April 4, 2012 [37 favorites]


So...send a video stream of pretty much your entire life to Google. Can't see how anyone would have a problem with that...

But see, it's google, and it will give you better search results. People want this. Really.
posted by justgary at 1:29 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


No implant option for those who don't want to wear glasses? Pfft.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:30 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


the killer app for this was described by Charles Stross in Accelerando I think.
An augmented reality app that would 'photoshop' people that you ban/ignore out of your field of view, turning them essentially invisible. (maybe with a warning tag so you don't run into them...)
posted by ts;dr at 1:31 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


No implant option...?

Way ahead of you.
posted by bonehead at 1:33 PM on April 4, 2012


It being Google and their information gathering makes me extremely nervous. That being said, every time I see a mention of this, my mind shuts down to one word:

WANT.

Seriously, this is my jet pack, my flying car. It's been promised to me since I first picked up a scifi novel and I only hope this doesn't end up being vaporware like the ibm wareable computer in the late 90's. Because I NEED THIS.

So, privacy concerns aside, I'll probably have the first generation in spite of its choppy experience and crashes just like my first google phone. And then be pissed when the second gen is 10x better. Oh well.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:34 PM on April 4, 2012 [14 favorites]


As someone with visual > auditory > tactile synesthesia, this is one of the most horrifying visions of the future I can imagine. Like bugs crawling on my eyes, chirping.
posted by nímwunnan at 1:34 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


How do you select stuff?

"Dude I was NOT hitting on your girlfriend, I just winked at her because I was taking her picture."
posted by naju at 1:34 PM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


One step closer to Feed.
posted by azarbayejani at 1:35 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


But I don't want to live in a Philip K. Dick dystopia!

(I bet Google has those little retina-scanning spiderbots from Minority Report in the works too.)
posted by entropicamericana at 1:35 PM on April 4, 2012


So do the goggles show you what you're actually looking at or what Google thinks you might be looking at, based on previous things you've seen and things other people have looked at?
posted by Legomancer at 1:35 PM on April 4, 2012 [30 favorites]


More expensive and less storage than a Nomad.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:38 PM on April 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


They don't really seem to use the augmented reality part of it for anything other than directions.
posted by smackfu at 1:39 PM on April 4, 2012


> They don't really seem to use the augmented reality part of it for anything other than directions.

Did you see the part where he played a fuckin' ukekele for his girlfriend on the rooftop of a building while sharing video from the glasses?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:40 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Who couldn't always use a few more ads piped directly into the visual cortex?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:41 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm disappointed. The demonstration video carnival barker makes it look like it would be awkward to use, overly clutter the visual field and provide a questionable benefit. I'm sure that someone will invent a really awesome augmented reality glasses product chicken-powered hair-combing machine, but this isn't it.

Fixed to subtract 150 years.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:41 PM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


(I bet Google has those little retina-scanning spiderbots from Minority Report in the works too.)

I suspect we'll see this in the next couple years not via retina scan, but Near Field Communications built into smartphones. Eventually it will probably be based off facial recognition, but we're very close to being able to do it now with NFC, so I'm sure it won't be far off.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:41 PM on April 4, 2012


Burhanistan, a video camera is not augmented reality.
posted by jjwiseman at 1:44 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


> a video camera is not augmented reality.

Debatable. He was watching his girlfriends reaction to what he was seeing.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:45 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


humanfont: The demonstration video makes it look like it would be awkward to use, overly clutter the visual field and provide a questionable benefit.

Legomancer: So do the goggles show you what you're actually looking at or what Google thinks you might be looking at, based on previous things you've seen and things other people have looked at?

Have you clicked through and seen the photos? The display part of the glasses takes up a small portion of one eye's visual field. From the photos, you'd need to look up and to the right to see anything on the display. This seems like a good design to me, as your normal vision is completely unfiltered and unobstructed. You'd quickly learn where to glance if you actually wanted to see the display.

And since it's only near one eye, you'd never have your real vision completely blocked... the display would appear half-transparent.

I imagine that in full production, they;d need to make left-eye versions, too, for those with that eye dominate, otherwise the display might be difficult to see.
posted by gilrain at 1:45 PM on April 4, 2012


Clearly this is pure fantasy. No technology is advanced enough to navigate the interior of the Strand.
posted by HeroZero at 1:45 PM on April 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


What the hell? Doesn't really look appealing or even that useful. Just use your damn iphone. I can definitely live without this gizmo.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:45 PM on April 4, 2012


Did you see the part where he played a fuckin' ukekele for his girlfriend on the rooftop of a building while sharing video from the glasses?

That's not augmented reality, that's just a webcam strapped to your face.

Fucking ukuleles.
posted by influx at 1:46 PM on April 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


One step toward the BrainPal. I'm cool with that!
posted by m@f at 1:46 PM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'll wait for Microsoft's Clippy glasses. It looks like you're trying to walk to the store, would you like help:

> Buying Microsoft Products?
> Viewing ads from our Affiliates?
> Something else?
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:46 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


(this joke's copyright 2002 btw)
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:46 PM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'd love to be able to buy a pair of glasses that would track my gaze and let me take a "screenshot" of whatever I was looking at, or better yet, record everything I looked at during the entire day in high-def video.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 1:47 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


One step toward the BrainPal. I'm cool with that!

As long as I can rename my BrainPal: Asshole.

"Hey, Asshole....find me a cup of coffee."
posted by Fizz at 1:48 PM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Actually, if this gadget has good eye-tracking capabilities, it will be very cool for people who are paralyzed. Like people with ALS or Locked-In Syndrome.
posted by jabberjaw at 1:48 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Over nine thousaaaaaaaaaaaaand!!!
posted by lord_wolf at 1:49 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


As someone with visual > auditory > tactile synesthesia --- That's about as close to the definition of edge case as I think is possible.
posted by crunchland at 1:51 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


If this is the future... I find I want nothing to do with it. Keep this shit scifi, I don't want myself coddled in an Googlified cloud every step I take.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:53 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did you see the part where he played a fuckin' ukekele for his girlfriend on the rooftop of a building while sharing video from the glasses?

I thought he was going to make her watch as he jumped.
posted by R. Mutt at 1:53 PM on April 4, 2012 [39 favorites]


What I got out of that video was basically a lesson by counter-example of "how not to be a douchey asshole" with its pointers on: randomly grunting, talking too loud into space, being unaware of your surroundings, being unwilling to do any investigation at all before demanding help and cutting off conversations with humans to do "net" things. If this is our fantastic future then pretty much the only thing I have to look forward to is all the auto-kneecapping silver-spectacle wearing hipsters who wander around staring up into the sky to check the weather or their mail because they're going trip over everything.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:54 PM on April 4, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'd like my future glasses to project their display directly onto the top left of my eye, so that I wouldn't see a thing unless I glanced up and moved my pupil into the right position. Also, it will make it look as if I'm just thinking when I'm actually checking wikipedia in order to appear smart.
posted by lucidium at 1:54 PM on April 4, 2012


One step closer to the OASIS.
posted by NoMich at 1:54 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did you see the part where he played a fuckin' ukekele for his girlfriend on the rooftop of a building while sharing video from the glasses?

blink. blink blink blink. blink. left punch. right kick. blink.

cat ukelele7.wav > /dev/audio-input
posted by zippy at 1:54 PM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


Deal with it.
posted by notmydesk at 1:55 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll Say it:

"The Goggles, they do Nothing!"

...revolutionary or groundbreaking. Maybe it is the whole substituting your finger for eye-tracking, but a lot of this seems to be stuff your smartphone does already. Show me some Ghost in the Shell action (reading barcodes, playback recorded messages with appropriate tagging, net diving) and I might be interested.
posted by djrock3k at 1:58 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Luxury in the future will not be access to information but freedom from it.
posted by nickrussell at 1:58 PM on April 4, 2012 [42 favorites]


All I want is a little over-head map in the bottom right corner and the ability to add quests.

QUEST ADDED: MARKET MADNESS
Pick up food for dinner tonight
(Optional)
Choose only healthy options.
(Optional)
Collect five (5) Green Vegetables
posted by The Whelk at 1:59 PM on April 4, 2012 [49 favorites]


Also, too many hipsters.
posted by djrock3k at 1:59 PM on April 4, 2012


I've got a much more smoothly integrated version of this called a "brain."
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:00 PM on April 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


I want this thing to able to identity plants. The killer Can I Eat It App.
posted by The Whelk at 2:00 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've got a much more smoothly integrated version of this called a "brain."
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:00 PM on April 4
Antieponisterical?
posted by BungaDunga at 2:03 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I see a blue background, but it's somehow full of Metatalk jabber. Disappointing.
posted by gilrain at 2:05 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought he was going to make her watch as he jumped.

I don't know what it says about me that when he asked if she wanted to see something cool and then looked down I assumed he was going to pull out his cock.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:06 PM on April 4, 2012 [22 favorites]


If they can solve my constant and socially crippling case of who-the-fuck-is-that-guy-I-know-I'm-supposed-to-know-him-oh-fuck-he's-coming-over-"Heeeeeey, man! How're ya' doing? Good to see you!" then I'll take a pair.
posted by The Bellman at 2:08 PM on April 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Google glasses will make your dick look 50% bigger.
posted by humanfont at 2:10 PM on April 4, 2012


No implant option for those who don't want to wear glasses? Pfft.

Burhanistan, this is for early-adopters.

They already wear faux-glasses.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:11 PM on April 4, 2012


Player One Ready...
posted by Windopaene at 2:12 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'd me much more interested in goggles that could tell me what breed of dog I was seeing in the park, offer to play a sample the band or movie poster I was passing by, and the years in which all the buildings I passed were constructed.

And, obviously, if there were girls around me. (kidding)
posted by Jon_Evil at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Google Adsense: Get a bucket of dicks! 50% off. Free Shipping.
posted by special-k at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought he was going to make her watch as he jumped.

I don't know what it says about me that when he asked if she wanted to see something cool and then looked down I assumed he was going to pull out his cock.


Sales of POV ex vids and gruesome death recordings are going to sky rocket.

That'll be before mods allow you re-texture reality into like a toon universe. Or Just Naked People.
posted by The Whelk at 2:13 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


This + Facial Recognition Database + App that pulls Facebook, LinkedIn, Dating Site Profiles (by photo hash, not by name). Credit history. Background check. Throw in an app that can do statistical inference about things that *aren't* in the profiles from things that are.

Welcome to the new no anonymity real world.
posted by weston at 2:14 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is some actual discussion, positive and negative, of this over at Hacker News, if anyone else cares.
posted by gilrain at 2:15 PM on April 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Just imagine driving and having a series of friends text message you, or dealing with people who can barely drive in the first place video chatting while driving.
posted by BishopFistwick at 2:15 PM on April 4, 2012


The problem is that I really, really don't even care what these do--and seriously, the video makes me think that they're in a very early stage of testing. I want these. Not because it's Google, but because it is one step closer to living in Transmetropolitan. If only I could get them in a red/green mismatched set that would also take pictures at inopportune moments. And a drug-addicted 3D printer.
posted by Tubalcain at 2:16 PM on April 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


Leather jackets required.
posted by azarbayejani at 2:16 PM on April 4, 2012


Otherland is going to be great. Except for all the crime, violence, & murder.
posted by Fizz at 2:18 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


BishopFistwick: Just imagine driving and having a series of friends text message you, or dealing with people who can barely drive in the first place video chatting while driving.

Have a glance at the actual product under discussion. They're pictured in the second link. These do not block your vision if you're looking ahead naturally. You need to look slightly above and, it looks like, to the right, to see the display... and then, only in one eye.

As a seemingly large proportion of the people in my town actually look down into their laps to text while driving, I can't imagine this would be much worse.
posted by gilrain at 2:19 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


[insert clever name here]: "And the ipad is going to suck too, I mean, who wants the iphone but too big to put in your pocket. I mean, imagine holding that thing up to your head."

Are we talking about a different company? Because Google has proven repeatedly that they know how to churn out lots of complete flops.
posted by mullingitover at 2:20 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: I assumed he was going to pull out his cock.
posted by lalochezia at 2:20 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


If I can get a Kindle app on this thing, my dream of virtual reality books will finally be a reality.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:27 PM on April 4, 2012


t -30 seconds til it's integrated with Grindr so you can just scan the Magnetic Fields concert to see who is Looking.
posted by The Whelk at 2:31 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm feeling some queasy combination of amazement, skepticism and dawning horror. Sort of like watching human society slip into an uncanny valley
posted by crayz at 2:32 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]




I really recommend Part 3 of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror series. It examines some social interactions when everyone has this functionality as part of their lives. It's quite a dystopian view of how it would affect human interaction, but fascinating nonetheless.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 2:33 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Somehow I doubt that all the brainspace saved by having your glasses remember for you how to get around town and around bookstores will be reallocated to something productive. There will just be extra brainpower for consideration about whether the baby kitties on YouTube are cuter than the baby puppies.
posted by TheRedArmy at 2:34 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


To me it seems really superficial to judge this negatively because the software is too similar to a smartphone, or not augmented enough. It's, like, pre-beta demo stuff. There is a lot to learn about what kind of software can be written for a device like this, and there will be software ecosystems that interact with these things which don't exist yet. This software demo is basically "hello world". Of course the software is incremental -- the platform is entirely new! You can't create both a new platform and a new design paradigm all at once; no-one would know how to use it, or to program it.
posted by PercussivePaul at 2:38 PM on April 4, 2012 [6 favorites]


The kitties. Clearly.
posted by brundlefly at 2:39 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Really excited for augmented reality. Not really excited for everyone to be walking around talking to themselves even MORE than current cellphone-in-public levels.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:42 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems like you'd want to have this work like a bluetooth accessory for your smartphone, rather than try to cram mobile antenna, sim, GPS, etc into something you wear on your head. The less stuff it needs to do, the smaller the battery it can have.

Maybe once everything's tiny and uses no power then the two can be integrated.
posted by aubilenon at 2:44 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"You wanna see something cool?"

"Yeah, sure."

*pulls out ukelele*

"I'm still waiting."
posted by brundlefly at 2:45 PM on April 4, 2012 [17 favorites]


Kitties.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 2:45 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is certainly an interesting future developing. We're still missing some hardware components, but as things like the Surface and this evolve and become cheaper and an ecosystem starts to build up around them, I think this software will look something like GEOS does today compared to what we have then.

It's the sensors and the display and battery and microcircuitry and other advances that this demonstrates that are key here.
posted by feloniousmonk at 2:47 PM on April 4, 2012


I like the single-pixel contact thing that bonehead linked above. It could, like, tell me that I've got a phone call. Or that my bus was going to arrive soon.

With that narrow a pipe, it'd be hard-pressed to advertise to me or to distract me dangerously. Without a camera, it couldn't create a major privacy hazard.

With that narrow a pipe, no one would bother making it do anything but useful things. And I already wear contacts.
posted by gurple at 2:48 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


These glasses will be decently chunky and ugly and heavy, right? Considering at minimum you'll have to fit in 4g/LTE capable of facetime quality video among other things, camera, a battery that lasts all day, microphone, speakers... It'll basically be like having an iPhone strapped across your face.
posted by naju at 2:49 PM on April 4, 2012


Naju: Like this? (warning: autoplay)
posted by adamrice at 2:50 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


This interfaces with MS Courier, right?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:52 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


By that I mean, this is vaporware. We're not seeing an actual product. Just a concept.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:53 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone convince me that this won't just turn into another way to blast you with advertising. Not to mention the danger of seriously distracted pedestrians wandering into traffic, each other, open manholes, etc.
I think the basic concept is interesting if not particularly useful. The idea that you have a plain undecorated store front that looks completely different when goggled is both cool and a little scary. What kind of social interaction will you have between people who are in the same physical space but visually different places?
posted by doctor_negative at 2:53 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's time we all reread Vernor Vinge's Rainbow's End.
posted by gurple at 2:55 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I wonder how far you will be able to hack this. Here's what I imagine after this dude finishes playing his ukelele but before the scintillating evening with Monsieur Gayno:

(Finishes sunset ukelele ballad)


"See you later Jess! Monsieur Gayno sounds great right?"

"Where can I find a dime bag?"

"Avenue B beween 4th and 5th street".
  • Walk 2 blocks east.
  • Wait outside door next to the Caribbean restaurant where noone ever eats.
  • Boop! Your dealer is 420 feet away.
"Hey, dude just one today".

Police jump out from stairwell. "Turn around scumbag, hands behind your head".


"Call lawyer"
posted by jeremias at 2:56 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


adamrice, naju: like this, probably http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRLRjKCGHek

(uh oh, 2007 called and wants its Zune jokes back)
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 2:56 PM on April 4, 2012


So much snark on the Metafilter. This kind of heads up display with Internet access is going to be awesome. Remember before smartphones, when you didn't have Internet access in your pocket all the time? Remember before you always had a camera with you, and a map of everywhere in the world that instantly displayed where you are now? Yeah, there's some badness associated with having an Internet phone in your pocket all the time, but the good far outweighs the bad.

The iPhone and its brethren are the first step in wearable computing. They're limited, and awkward, and require explicit use. As these devices get more integrated and ubiquitous in our daily lives we will live a more networked life. Of course this will have some negative consequences, but the benefits will far outweigh the problems.

And snark all you want about Google funding this, they're one of the few companies with the resources and vision to build a product like this. Microsoft is there, too, and hopefully Apple is.

And speaking personally, I saw a lot of these ideas explored at the MIT Media Lab in the late 90s with the wearable computing project. Sadly there's no good overview paper of that work I can point you to, I don't think anyone wrote a really good book. There are still ISWC conferences. And two of the leading PhD students at the time were Thad Starner and Bradley Rhodes; their papers are still worth reading. I see Thad's updated his web page to say he's working on Project Glass at Google; Brad's at Google now too and I sincerely hope he's working on it.
posted by Nelson at 2:58 PM on April 4, 2012 [23 favorites]


So what you're saying is "resistance is futile?"
posted by entropicamericana at 3:00 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


It doesn't matter if this flops or not. The concept will live. Just wait until Apple, or Amazon, or even Facebook rolls out their equivalent to this.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:01 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


> A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment.

"Putting you back in the moment" is the one thing tech like this will never, ever do.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:01 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


So here's something interesting. The glasses don't know what you're looking at. I had to go back and watch it again to be sure, because I thought the glasses noticed him looking out the window to see the weather, but his eyes triggered the weather app. And I thought the glasses noticed him entering the subway, but that was probably triggered by his location. Same with the directions - all GPS-based I guess. Just arrows and maps -- not smart enough to draw arrows onto the scene. It was not smart enough to read 'Monsier Gayno' -- it had to listen to him speak. It relied on the food truck having a Google Place for him to check in; it didn't know he was looking at the truck.

I am interpreting this to mean that real-time processing of the incoming video stream is beyond the current capabilities of the hardware. Which is not shocking, really; the horsepower required to do recognition is immense, not to mention the infinite amount of things you could be looking at which the glasses would need to parse. (Is this a street? Should I superimpose a map on it? Are you in the supermarket? Should I hover product reviews over these things?). I wonder if this stuff would be possible even if one had unlimited processing power available. These are nearly impossible problems.

But here, at last at last at last, is a use for QR codes! Glasses could easily read and decode these on the fly, assuming the video is sufficiently hi-def. But going past that I bet you would eventually see little RF transmitters that broadcast information to be picked up by the glasses and superimposed into the video stream. This is what I meant by an ecosystem, and there is nothing but inertia standing in the way of this -- the technology exists or will soon, we just need data protocols, a user base, and an industry. Then you could see the city installing mini transmitters on every street corner or embedding them in the sidewalk; shops installing them in every aisle; products having them embedded in the packaging; people wearing or carrying them. And once you have THAT, you have Minority Report. Seamless connected interaction with everything around you. Sure there are implications and it may not be a desirable future in every aspect, but don't tell me this isn't revolutionary.

There's a big convergence coming. There are a zillion applications for minuscule computing devices and decades of research leading up to this -- see "wireless sensor networks", nodes that can power themselves by harvesting ambient energy and form robust self-reorganizing networks -- all existing already in proof of concept form if not already deployed applications. While the glasses may be incremental they are a big piece of a really spectacular puzzle.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:08 PM on April 4, 2012 [9 favorites]


Whenever you have a radically new and/or better interface/form-factor/medium - the first thing everyone rushes to do with it is exactly what we've been doing before but better.

The totally new things that are enabled by the medium take some time to surface.

Thus, all anyone can imagine right now is "google maps but better" and "skype but better" and "to-do list app but better" and "what's the weather? but better." Very meh indeed. But the internet had to exist for more than a decade before blogging, twitter, rss, and so on came about.

I know the internet itself isn't a perfect analogy to seamless visual AR, but I think the two technologies might be similarly disruptive that it will take a while for humanity to figure out exactly what to do with them. First we have to get past the caveman "poke... what is it? grunt. Maybe its better club! I use it to club goat!" stage.
posted by tempythethird at 3:11 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The iPhone and its brethren are the first step in wearable computing

They don't have to be, though. I have a bunch of the newest gadgets and appreciate where they can add value while trying to minimize the distraction they cause. But, so help me, I will always draw the line at wearable gear for everyday uses. I mean, perhaps for emergency personnel, military, and labor intensive work, and also for some gaming I can see the use of this. But, just relying on it to supplant my brain all day long seems problematic.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:13 PM on April 4, 2012


When did google turn into the kind of company that shows videos of what the future will bring instead of ready to use products?

Also where's my Microsoft Surface?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:13 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


By that I mean, this is vaporware. We're not seeing an actual product. Just a concept.

Camelot!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:16 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


If they can solve my constant and socially crippling case of who-the-fuck-is-that-guy-I-know-I'm-supposed-to-know-him-oh-fuck-he's-coming-over-"Heeeeeey, man! How're ya' doing? Good to see you!" then I'll take a pair.

posted by The Bellman


What an unfortunate career choice.
posted by zippy at 3:19 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Space Coyote: When did google turn into the kind of company that shows videos of what the future will bring instead of ready to use products?

While the video was speculative, it wasn't hugely ambitious... and the product is "ready to use", at least by the select Google employees who are testing it (in public, even).
posted by gilrain at 3:19 PM on April 4, 2012


From the photos, you'd need to look up and to the right to see anything on the display.

And to turn it off, you look back and to the left...back and to the left...back and to the left.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:22 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]




CAN IT READ QR CODES?!
posted by roboton666 at 3:24 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


While the glasses may be incremental they are a big piece of a really spectacular puzzle.

I see what you did there...
posted by mediated self at 3:25 PM on April 4, 2012


Threeway Handshake: Woweee. The future really IS here!

Do people not understand that the glasses in the photos exist and work at least enough for employees to test in their everyday lives? I'm sure it's nowhere near as slick as the video, yet, but it's not exactly a fantasy future story.
posted by gilrain at 3:26 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


But, just relying on [wearable computing] to supplant my brain all day long seems problematic.

Wow, to me it seems entirely awesome. I already do it; I feel pretty lost if I go out without my iPhone. But the iPhone UI is so awkward and limited, I can't wait for something that's more accessible and unobtrusive than pulling a slab of glass out of my pocket.
posted by Nelson at 3:27 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do people not understand that the glasses in the photos exist and work at least enough for employees to test in their everyday lives? I'm sure it's nowhere near as slick as the video, yet, but it's not exactly a fantasy future story.

Woah woah. Many of those cars actually exist too, and the car company employees also are testing in real life.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:31 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Threeway Handshake: Woah woah. Many of those cars actually exist too, and the car company employees also are testing in real life.

Ah, so you just don't think Google will wind up releasing the glasses, then. I guess that's possible. I doubt it, though. Most people agree that wearable computers are going to be a big deal.

I'd imagine that, with this project and others at Google X, Google is intent on not being caught off guard like they were with the mobile market.
posted by gilrain at 3:38 PM on April 4, 2012


Google bought Motorola. These glasses are going to exist.

Also, they should be referred to henceforth as Google Goggles. Say that 2 times real fast and follow it up with "one of us, one of us."

I giggled at that.
posted by daq at 3:44 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bookstores in the future? I find that hard to believe. Everything else, sure, whatever. Progress: instead of staring at glowing rectangles all day someday soon we can stare off into nothingspace.
posted by Pathos Bill at 3:45 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


What Nelson said. I feel lucky to be living in this age.
posted by peacay at 3:50 PM on April 4, 2012


YOU JUST PASSED BY CHUCK'S STEAK HOUSE! WHY NOT TURN BACK AND ENJOY OUR HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS!
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:58 PM on April 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


We can imagine a world with everyone wearing heads up displays, or having retinal implants, but not a world where these technologies are meaningfully controlled by their users. It will be delivered from on high by The Google.
posted by phrontist at 4:03 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


When I read about stuff like this, I soothe myself with the knowledge that the combination of the financial meltdown, Peak Oil, and global climate change will kill us all in the very near future.
posted by briank at 4:06 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bookstores in the future? I find that hard to believe. --- The Strand is an famous used bookstore. I expect that used bookstores will survive longer than your average B&N.
posted by crunchland at 4:07 PM on April 4, 2012


Also, they should be referred to henceforth as Google Goggles.

There already was a Google Goggles.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 4:08 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


phrontist: We can imagine a world with everyone wearing heads up displays, or having retinal implants, but not a world where these technologies are meaningfully controlled by their users. It will be delivered from on high by The Google.

Actually, in this thread almost everyone is only imagining it being delivered from on high by "The Google". Personally, I would expect an experience more like what I get on my Android: a great device that I have full control over and have never seen a single ad on.
posted by gilrain at 4:08 PM on April 4, 2012


Oops, misread your post I think, phrontist. Sorry!
posted by gilrain at 4:09 PM on April 4, 2012


Interesting that his friend Paul doesn't appear to be wearing these google glasses... unless the google glasses all look like hipster frames from the 50's.
posted by crunchland at 4:11 PM on April 4, 2012


The film shows one user being reminded he has a date that evening when he looks up at a blank wall (from the BBC link)

When I'm staring at a blank wall, I want my Google Goggles to remind me of the meaninglessness of life.

Also, another vote for kitties.
posted by perhapses at 4:11 PM on April 4, 2012


God, I hate the technological dystopia that the technological utopia I wanted in the 90s has turned into.
posted by byanyothername at 4:26 PM on April 4, 2012 [8 favorites]


I thought for a moment he was going to jump at the end. Like, the little arrow was just helpfully leading him off the edge and he wasn't really paying attention.

Google Goggles v1.01: fixed bug wherein 'shortest route' calculation assumed user was capable of surviving fall from any height.
posted by emmtee at 4:43 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought for a moment he was going to jump at the end. Like, the little arrow was just helpfully leading him off the edge and he wasn't really paying attention.

Google Goggles v1.01: fixed bug wherein 'shortest route' calculation assumed user was capable of surviving fall from any height.


Step 8: Kayak* across the Pacific Ocean.

* please mind the Raft
posted by curious nu at 4:49 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, another way besides Bluetooth to look like a complete asshole.
posted by New England Cultist at 4:59 PM on April 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


By the time the iteration of Duke Nukem Forever that doesn't suck comes out, I'll be able to play it on these? While driving my flying car?

I still want my flying car. We were all promised flying cars.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:04 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wake me when the public and shared spaces of society collapse and give way to a plurality of isolated walled gardens each independently filtered by personal preferences and exclusive group memberships.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:04 PM on April 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


the killer app for this was described by Charles Stross in Accelerando I think. An augmented reality app that would 'photoshop' people that you ban/ignore out of your field of view, turning them essentially invisible.

It was definitely in John C. Wright's The Golden Age but it may well have been in the Stross too, it seems like something Charlie would do.
posted by Justinian at 5:05 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hokay, let's see: Google future business model: ubiquitous online visual overlay, robot car, and we end up with something a little bit like...

Yep, we're boned.
posted by nanojath at 5:14 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset. They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider; there getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule scabbard or the calculater pouch on the belt, marking the user as belonging to a class that is at once above and far below human society. They are a boon to Hiro because they embody the worst stereotype of the CIC stringer. They draw all of the attention. The payoff for this self-imposed ostracism is that you can be in the Metaverse all the time, and gather intelligence all the time.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:15 PM on April 4, 2012 [9 favorites]




Player One Ready...

Fuck the Sixers!
posted by NoMich at 5:35 PM on April 4, 2012


Hiro eventually falls for that payoff and loves being a gargoyle, right? So is the lesson here that cool people think new things suck and then they realize that they are really awesome and then want those new things?
posted by hellphish at 5:36 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Beyond all the ubiquitous/mobile/gestural/augmented stuff, it's interesting how one of the killer apps for any underlying AI/semantic Web infrastructure still remains shopping. I think some of Tim Berners-Lee's original examples were to do with picking up prescriptions.

Also, there were no ads in this, which makes me think (as this is coming from Google) that this is not a realistic scenario of use.
posted by carter at 5:50 PM on April 4, 2012


I was more thinking about the idea of stringers for the Central Intelligence Corporation paralleling Google's development; as these things go into the analog world, Google is investing in real-world data collection (like the street view cars, or these glasses). CIC is a vision for how humans can act as manual search engine spiders.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:04 PM on April 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


The only thing Stephenson got wrong was that the CIC wasn't an advertising company.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 6:07 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think there's a certain someone out there somewhere that will not only wear these, but see a ukulele... née banjo, under every single tree
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 6:23 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


These would be cool if everything was local and what you did every moment wasn't going to be datamined.

Otherwise, totally lame and annoying.
posted by delmoi at 6:49 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm sure there will be jailbroken/rooted versions available.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:53 PM on April 4, 2012


It's funny because today there was news about a flying car.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:55 PM on April 4, 2012


Threeway Handshake: "The only thing Stephenson got wrong was that the CIC wasn't an advertising company."

Just think, no one would have believed him.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:14 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seems pretty accurate to me.

Paul enters scene

Glasses Man: "Hey dude, how's it going?....Hey, just a second"

Glasses Man checks in, takes picture of food, posts photos to Google+, and checks his Google+ News Feed while finishing his coffee in silence.

Glasses Man: "See you dude!"

Paul and Glasses Man part ways
posted by Defenestrator at 7:22 PM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Time to go rewatch Dennou Coil
posted by shakespearicles at 7:39 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Paul and Glasses Man part ways

"Man, what a douchebag", Paul says.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:41 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


They should be called Googgles.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:32 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll be frightened if they actually build it, as opposed to making a video advertising vaporware.
posted by eustacescrubb at 9:45 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is not the flying car you want. This is the flying car you want.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:05 PM on April 4, 2012


Sales of POV ex vids and gruesome death recordings are going to sky rocket.

Strange Days Indeed!
posted by alex_skazat at 12:03 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Death of the Flâneur.
posted by alex_skazat at 12:04 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Still, I'm interested in how they're going to work - like, how do you focus on something projected very close to your eye, while also focusing on something very far?


Because, uh, you can't.

Augmented reality apps for phones work since the camera is focusing on its own, and the phone is just overlaying the video feed with additional information.
posted by alex_skazat at 12:08 AM on April 5, 2012


just so long as I can run an xterm through them...
posted by oonh at 12:29 AM on April 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can see your whuffie.

Again, not trying these until other people who get migraines try them first and tell me whether they trigger or not.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:37 AM on April 5, 2012


There's a lot to be worried about in this video and a lot to be excited about. The ads, privacy, etc don't have much to do with AR goggles and have everything to do with massive corporations.

So if we stick to an Free version of the device using open protocols and such we can avoid most of that. This might be difficult considering how closed most [all?] phone services are, but hopefully that will change.

But even without an internet connection, these could be useful. A couple of MicroSD cards wouldn't be noticed at all and could hold a LOT of reading matter, facial recognition data and maps.
posted by DU at 4:45 AM on April 5, 2012


just so long as I can run an xterm through them...

Yeah, I think this is the biggest downside as it is with all mobile "computing" devices. How do you input? If I'm not putting data into the computer, I'm not computing, I'm just consuming. Streamlining consumption is not a laudable goal--we are already consuming the Earth faster than we should be.

The real holy grail is not tiny displays or touchscreens, it's brain interfaces. More efficient thinking.
posted by DU at 4:47 AM on April 5, 2012


The googles - they do something.
posted by panboi at 5:09 AM on April 5, 2012


While I'm not sure I'd want to live in a Pop Up Video world, it would be pretty cool to have RiffTrax that automatically sync up to the movie you're watching.

"Sure, honey, I'll go to Twilight 2020 with you... Just let me get my glasses."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:44 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


These'll certainly have a massive appeal to my own niche-market. Which is to say, bitter and angry loners who have no interest in talking to any other human being. Ever.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 6:08 AM on April 5, 2012


Mind the generation gap..haters. The glasses will be released and people will wear them and the wearers will be more lost without them as some of us are today without an internet connection or a cell-phone.

Personally I would not wear them and I think the implications of wearing them which have been speculated upon here are truly horrible.
posted by therubettes at 6:34 AM on April 5, 2012


I think I already mentioned wanting ad-blocking spectacles, but I think that's many years away. In the shorter term, I just want spectacles that can do this.
posted by Ritchie at 7:30 AM on April 5, 2012


Ah, so you just don't think Google will wind up releasing the glasses, then.

I'm going to assume that they will release something called Google Glass (or some other name that is a "glasses computer").

But I'm also going to assume it will be nothing like this concept video, just like every other concept video of technology I've ever seen. And again, Google is an advertisement company, they make their money off of advertising. There is no way they could sell those devices and make money off the hardware alone, and they are not some benevolent socialist/charity entity. There wasn't any ads in the concept video. They haven't shown their angle. They also haven't shown real hardware, an interface that wasn't fake CGI, or an expected release timeframe other than "One Day..."
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:42 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Threeway Handshake: And again, Google is an advertisement company, they make their money off of advertising. There is no way they could sell those devices and make money off the hardware alone, and they are not some benevolent socialist/charity entity. There wasn't any ads in the concept video.

This makes sense in the gut, but is not necessarily true. I will reiterate that Google has gone out of its way to make it extremely easy to avoid ads on many of their devices. I have an Android phone which I have full control over, via its purposefully unlocked bootloader, and I have never seen a single ad on it -- not once. I also have never seen an ad in Google Chrome, my desktop browser of choice.

It's well known that Google's general strategy for their ad business is "more people using the Internet in faster, more efficient ways will mean more money for us in the long run". I can't imagine they'd change that up for their glasses product.
posted by gilrain at 7:50 AM on April 5, 2012 [2 favorites]



Still, I'm interested in how they're going to work - like, how do you focus on something projected very close to your eye, while also focusing on something very far?


Collimation. As previously seen in use in these devices.
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:52 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do agree that the end product, at least the first iteration or two, will not be nearly as slick as the video. The first few iterations of Android were also pretty rough. I'm not taken in by the marketing hype, but by the potential of the product once it's matured.
posted by gilrain at 7:57 AM on April 5, 2012


One thing to clear up: I have a friend at Google who tells me that nothing in this video is vaporware. Everything you see there is how the actual glasses that people are testing today actually operate. I have no reason to believe these won't be widely available eventually.
posted by Inkoate at 8:05 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have an Android phone which I have full control over, via its purposefully unlocked boot loader

Congradulations on being in the >1% of Android users? You are not their primary use case. Whoever sold your handset to you sold it at a loss, unless you're on a long mobile contract.

potential

I always see this word with Android stuff, and now this. I agree: there is potential in something like this, just like there is potential in a utopian phone that you can "do whatever you want with." Android is always going to fully take over the world, "just wait until [dessert name] is released!" Never is there a fully-realized thing, because just as soon as any milestone is released, the next big thing is always on the horizon.

Am I a weird person to focus on the now (as an end user)? People wanting to get this Glass thing because 20 years from now, GlassOS "Zithering Zebra" might be great would be like me buying a Wii because "the next console from Nintendo seems like it might be TOTALLY AWESOME in my imagination."
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:06 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know, even the original NES was pretty awesome.
posted by Nelson at 8:09 AM on April 5, 2012


Threeway Handshake: Congradulations on being in the >1% of Android users? You are not their primary use case. Whoever sold your handset to you sold it at a loss, unless you're on a long mobile contract.

Greater than 1% is correct, because yes, lots of Android users go at least as far as rooting their phone, if not actually installing a custom ROM. The simple rooting is extremely easy, and is all that is needed for ad blocking. I am not the primary use case, no, but I am also not by any means a rarity.

Threeway Handshake: always see this word [potential] with Android stuff, and now this. I agree: there is potential in something like this, just like there is potential in a utopian phone that you can "do whatever you want with."

This feels insulting, to me. You seem to imply that nobody is enjoying doing what they like with their Android phones right now. That we're all just hopeless optimists using a shit phone in the hope that it'll be good, one day. I've loved my last two phones, both Androids. And I have done "whatever I want" with them, yes. I also appreciate iPhones as a great choice too, by the way, if that's what this is about. It need not be such a damn war.
posted by gilrain at 8:13 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, NES is a bad example, because each hardware iteration IS a fully-fledged platform And the original NES is still fully usable and just as great now.

But I couldn't think of another thing where you have major hardware iterations.
Maybe cars?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:13 AM on April 5, 2012


Who said anything about iPhones? I didn't.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:14 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Threeway Handshake: Who said anything about iPhones? I didn't.

I'm sorry, my assumption that there was an implicit "vs iPhone" in your posts was inappropriately based on my past experiences dealing with similar arguments.
posted by gilrain at 8:17 AM on April 5, 2012


vs. Windows 7 Phone
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:19 AM on April 5, 2012


TwelveTwo: vs. Windows 7 Phone

Fair enough. The new Lumia looks like it's shaping up to be a great phone.
posted by gilrain at 8:21 AM on April 5, 2012


For what it is worth, I was comparing Android phones to themselves.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:26 AM on April 5, 2012




Couple these with something like Angry Birds or Farmville and it'll be just like that one episode of Star Trek:TNG where everyone gets addicted to wearable games.
posted by Wild_Eep at 9:22 AM on April 5, 2012


Ahh, here it is
posted by Wild_Eep at 9:27 AM on April 5, 2012


On the subject of input- perhaps this is finally the hardware for some variation on the theme of Dasher. I don't know what kind of Zen master control you would need over things like saccades, though. Then again, people adapted to keyboards and mice.

Or maybe a touchpad tattoo, or just invoked computing. In fact, that could be a killer app - full size keyboard projected onto the nearest flat surface in your field of view.

This is extremely exciting!
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:30 AM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, very exciting.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:52 AM on April 5, 2012


What happens when two people with glasses video chat each other? Each person is paying attention at the screen floating in front of their eyes, but each pair of glasses are transmitting whatever is behind that screen to the other person. So I get to see what you're not looking at and you get to see what I'm not looking at.

They must not be making much progress on this. You'd never release a concept video for something that had a chance of launching remotely in the near future.
posted by the jam at 11:59 AM on April 5, 2012


Oh?
posted by crunchland at 12:00 PM on April 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


the jam: They must not be making much progress on this. You'd never release a concept video for something that had a chance of launching remotely in the near future.

I'm skeptical of the video as well, but the hardware you see photoed is real and working well enough to be tested in everyday life, as it is being. Also, while I don't know how trustworthy this source is, we have a mefite saying:

Inkoate: One thing to clear up: I have a friend at Google who tells me that nothing in this video is vaporware. Everything you see there is how the actual glasses that people are testing today actually operate. I have no reason to believe these won't be widely available eventually.
posted by gilrain at 2:24 PM on April 5, 2012


The real holy grail is not tiny displays or touchscreens, it's brain interfaces. More efficient thinking.

An IRL HUD is one step closer to the exocortex I've been looking for.
posted by ryoshu at 9:39 PM on April 5, 2012


Sergey Brin seen wearing them in the wild.
posted by bonehead at 10:42 PM on April 5, 2012


Here is another (short) and funny take on what they would more likely be like.

"Oh no, not this arsehole."
posted by oddman at 9:07 AM on April 6, 2012


Here in Japan, a surprising number of cars have televisions on the front console, and you'll often see them on, while people are driving. I have to imagine, sometimes, that they cause more accidents than people are comfortable admitting to themselves. Google has found a way to do this even when you're on foot.

I'm really not looking forward to losing the ability to see that my conversation partner is looking at their phone as a signal to me that they aren't actually paying attention, at least if any part of this is real and intended to go to market at any point in any real way.
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:23 PM on April 6, 2012


« Older "The bed has become a place of luxury to me! I...   |   Flashback MacOS botnet Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post