What is Google Glass?

A brief look at Google Glass, the new wearable computer

  1. Becky
    As years have gone by there have been several major shifts in technology which have changed how we live our day to day lives. The first computer, the first personal computer, the advent of the internet, mobile phones; each of these has had a tremendous impact on the majority of the world’s population. Each time a new technology was brought into existence, people have usually been unable to predict just how much the new technology would eventually affect their lives; foreseen changes were often grossly underestimated.

    What if Google Glass is the next big shift? What if we cannot yet comprehend just how much we will use this new technology in the future? It is certainly an interesting thought. There is already talk that Glass will be a game changer; only time will tell. More on this below.

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    Google Glass is essentially like a wearable smart phone. Well that doesn’t sound like a major shift in technology I hear you cry… What makes this different is just how integrated it could become in your life whilst allowing you full participation in what you are doing.

    Google Glass comprises a metal frame with a small screen on the right-hand side above the eye. The screen is designed so that it doesn’t obstruct your normal vision – instead you see a small screen hovering in the top right-hand side of your view. The device is operated mainly using voice commands, but in addition the side of the device is a touch pad when additional input is required. There are no additional headphones needed; instead sound is transmitted using bone conduction. Glass essentially looks like a pair of glasses without the glass in front of your eyes, with the addition of the small screen in the top right.

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    Let’s take a look at the specifications (taken from Google):

    • Fit
      • Adjustable nosepads and durable frame fits any face.
      • Extra nosepads in two sizes.
    • Display
      • High resolution display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away.
    • Camera
      • Photos - 5 MP
      • Videos - 720p
    • Audio
      • Bone Conduction Transducer
    • Connectivity
      • Wifi - 802.11b/g
      • Bluetooth
    • Storage
      • 12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage.
      • 16 GB Flash total.
    • Battery
      • One full day of typical use. Some features, like Hangouts and video recording, are more battery intensive.
    • Charger
      • Included Micro USB cable and charger.
      • While there are thousands of Micro USB chargers out there, Glass is designed and tested with the included charger in mind. Use it and preserve long and prosperous Glass use.
    • Compatibility
      • Any Bluetooth-capable phone.
      • The MyGlass companion app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. MyGlass enables GPS and SMS messaging.
    On its own, Google Glass is capable of connecting to WiFi, but if you are out and about you will need to tether the device to your smart phone via Bluetooth for 3G/4G capabilities.

    Going back to why Google Glass could be such a major shift, just think about how using it would differ to using your smart phone: Your first born is just about to take their first steps and you want to film it – instead of reaching for your phone and watching it happen on the screen, you would simply give the voice command to Glass to start recording and watch it happen with your own eyes. Imagine you are abroad and want to make a quick translation – Glass could do it for you without the need to pore over your phone or guide book, and it could even tell you the correct pronunciation. The list goes on and on. Rather than be glued to your phone (and let’s face it, it’s never great to see people constantly on their phone like zombies) you can get on with things yet still make use of all the features on offer.

    So what is Google Glass? A very exciting prospect, that’s for sure, and something you are likely to hear a lot about over the coming months.
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