Google's Android-based digital glasses will offer a near-iPhone 4S resolution floating interface for users, sources claim, though opinion remains divided over whether the wearable computer is realistic, useful or even safe. According to a Geek source, the Google Glasses will use a pair of micro LCD displays bouncing a combined 960 x 540 resolution image off two small angled surfaces integrated into the lenses, for the impression of a large screen floating in front of your face. That will be used for gaming, navigation and more.
The two patches of angled glass will be less than a dime in size, while the arms of the glasses will need to accommodate twin 1.5 x 1.5 inch blocks where the LCD display hardware is mounted. Obviously there will also be the necessary processor and other components, along with GPS and motion sensors, a camera, microphone and audio outputs; there's also believed to be cellular connectivity baked in.
The NYTimes claims Google isn't expecting users to wear the glasses permanently, only donning them occasionally in a similar manner to periodic smartphone use. The front-facing camera will track hand and arm gestures and translate them into controls of the Android-based software environment. According to the newspaper's sources, who have seen the Google Glasses but are not officially allowed to discuss them, the search company will particularly push location-based services, overlaying augmented reality information onto a real-world view by analyzing the scene ahead of the user with its cloud computers.
"A person looking at a landmark could see detailed historical information and comments about it left by friends" it's suggested, while "the glasses could remind a wearer of when and how he met the vaguely familiar person standing in front of him at a party" if facial-recognition systems are up to the task.
Perhaps more ominously - though unsurprising, given Google's focus - advertising is expected to play a role in all this. The company is said to be considering how it can deploy location-based adverts to users, perhaps customizing real-world ads with user-specific messages overlaid.
Still, there are concerns that the Google Glasses will result in greater eye-strain as people face computer displays more frequently, along with fears about privacy as Google tracks users and targets its adverts more specifically. Less serious, perhaps, but more obvious is the social impact of gesture-controlling a computer nobody else around you can see: think of the "Is he talking to himself?" nature of Bluetooth headsets, and multiple it exponentially. On a purely practical level, if Google doesn't expect users to sport the glasses throughout the day, those already wearing prescription eyewear will end up having to carry two sets of specs.
Google is tipped to be readying a prototype of the Google Glasses for Google I/O in June this year, though any subsequent release is said to be small-scale, at least initially. It's also unclear whether the target price of $250 to $600 - roughly in line with a smartphone - is realistic.