The second version of Google Glass has been revealed, with Google opening that the often-mocked glasses can find success with an entirely new direction.
Leaks and photos show that the second go at the glasses are bigger and more robust, as well as packing in new internal parts. And Google is pursuing a new strategy for the glasses, looking to sell them to industry and workplaces rather than to the general public.
Google announced at the beginning of this year that it was halting sales of the eyewear, and that it would focus instead on a new version. That new version has been seen for the first time, in new pictures.
The new glasses have a new processor and connectivity parts so that they will be able to run faster, as well as improved battery life to allow them to charge less. That is all packed into a bigger and more robust headset, which is waterproof and more resistant to getting broken.
But consumers won’t be able to get their hand on the new glasses. Google will only be selling them through a special programme that will see them go straight to companies, which will be able to load up custom software before they are used.
It’s not clear yet which companies will be buying the glasses, though previous suggestions have included medical professionals and designers.
The device has been revealed in photographs submitted to the Federal Communications Commission in early December, and made public this week.
Google Glass: Everything you need to know
Google Glass: Everything you need to know
Think of Glass as having a smartphone on your face. You control it either using voice commands (eg, 'Okay Glass, directions to British Museum') or the touch panel on the right arm (eg, swipe down to go back in any menu). It can shoot video and photos without connecting to the internet but you need to connect to the web via a smartphone or Wi-Fi to use apps (dubbed 'Glassware). Google hopes it's the future (ie you'll be using Google all the time), others think it's just too geeky or creepy to ever take off.
Glass is about as powerful as a mid-range smartphone with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of memory slotted into the right arm of the frame. The prism-style screen has a resolution of 640 by 360 and sound is conveyed either by a bone conduction speaker (using vibrations into your skull) or using an earphone. The camera has a five-megapixel resolution and can shoot video at 720p. There's also a proximity sensor to turn it on automatically when picked up. Engineers have estimated that the innards cost around £100 with Google's R&D accounting for the rest of the cost.
3/6 Glass in the UK
Anyone in the UK over 18 and with £1000 burning a hole in their pocket can buy Glass. It's available online or through Google's London 'Basecamp' - essentially a fitting station to give you an introduction to the technology (that's the LA one on the left, expect London's to be less sunny). Glass has launched with five apps (known as 'Glasware' in the UK) including a running 'audio game', a star map and a news app from The Guardian.
The location of Glass's screen in the top right of users' vision has led to complaints of headaches. Experts say that the display is in one of the least comfortable areas of humans' field of vision (early prototypes put the screen directly in front of the ye but was too obstructive), although Google says that its only a problem for a small number of users: “Glass is designed for micro-interactions, not for staring into the screen, watching Friday night movie marathons or reading War and Peace.”
Google has been keen to market Glass as a fashionable product, placing the device on catwalks and between the covers of Vogue. The company has partnered with Luxottica (owner of the Ray-Ban brand) as well as designer Diane von Fürstenberg to make special frames. Google's own designs are known as the Titanium Series (left) with perscription lenses costing extra. However, this association with the catwalk has done nothing to shake the criticism that Glass - and its price tag - are elitist.
6/6 Using Glass
Google has partnered with everyone from doctors to engineers to show how Glass can be useful - essentially by helping people in high-pressure professions who need hands-free access to information on the spot. However, this isn't an argument for Glass becoming a consumer product. Advocates of Glass say that it takes away a layer between technology and peoples' lives - and while this may be useful some of the time it's hardly a killer application. Besides, having to make a conscious decision to look at our smartphones may actually help us look at them less. If there's no separation between reality and tech, why would ever put the latter away?
Google released the first version of Glass in March, 2014. It then opened it up to more users in May of that year — before stopping sale of the glasses, with a promise to bring them back.Reuse content