Will the Google technology be the first truly hands-free mobile platform?
By Aidan Mouellic, Staff Writer
I was recently having a phone conversation with a friend who described something that they were drawing, and it make me think: “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could see what they were seeing?” Then I thought about the devices that Google is working on. With their Google Glass wearable technology, my dream will be a reality soon.
Google Glass is not available to the general public yet, although Google has released batches to American testing crews. These lucky few, called Explorers, are able to purchase the devices for $1,500 before the masses get a chance. The Explorers have been praising the device, while the rest of the Glass-less world seems to be apprehensive about the technology. The main feature of Google Glass is something called a Heads-Up Display (HUD), which shows information on a tiny screen right in front of your eye. HUDs are typically found in fighter jets and other high-end aircraft, but now you can have one strapped to your face showing you your emails—if you’re American and have $1,500 to spare.
The Google Glass HUD can show the wearer map-based directions, photographs, videos, email, and other really cool geeky stuff that gets kids like me excited. But despite the potentially great capabilities of the Google device, not everyone is excited for its release. The term “glasshole” is already part of the vernacular of those who fear that users of the technology will be assholes. Why would someone think that? Well, because Google Glass has a built-in camera that shoots from the user’s perspective, many believe that this technology will be used to invade the privacy of others. The eyewear is also rather bulky and makes the user look a bit silly, but considering how new the technology is, bulkiness is to be expected—‘90s era cellphones, anyone?
Even though Google Glass is ugly, potentially controversial, and not that cool (yet), I know that it’s the future. When the technology makes it to the mass market it will change the way we experience mobile communication. It will immerse us in our conversations. Using a handheld cellphone right now is sort of like listening to theatre on the radio—it’s one-dimensional and lacks depth. As much as I love radio programs, film is much funner and more engaging. When we speak on our phones all we have is sound; our telephone conversations lack colour.
I realize that statement might make me sounds ungrateful for cellphones, but I’m not. Speaking on a small cellphone to someone who is sometimes thousands of kilometres away is amazing; having their voice in the palm of my hand is amazing. But we can take it further with the technology that Google is introducing. Google Glass can immerse us in our mobile interactions by seamlessly linking visual and audio components of conversations.
I want to be able to have my friends show me in realtime what they are drawing, and Google Glass will let me do that. Imagine talking with someone on the other side of the world and being able to see what they see—Google Glass will let us converse with others as if we are standing right next to them.
The possibilities for Glass are vast and I can’t wait to try it out and see how refined it will get with time. Currently, cell phones are astonishingly good, yet they still lack the ability to create a hands-free, immersive experience for users. Google Glass might deliver the Holy Grail of communication excellence, and I can’t wait to find out.