Project Glass reveals non-speech control as outsider tries headset

Google is gradually spilling more details on Project Glass, with co-founder Sergey Brin revealing a hidden trackpad that can be used to navigate when speech input might be too distracting. Brin brought the wearable device to The Gavin Newsom Show, with the California Lieutenant Governor being one of the first outside of Google to try Project Glass on and later telling Wired that "you can easily forget you have them on" and that despite the bright studio lights the "image was remarkably clear."

Recent photos of the prototypes revealed a hidden button on the inner edge, for controlling power, and a microUSB port on the underside, presumably for recharging the augmented reality wearable and flashing new firmware to it. There's also what looks to be a button on the top edge, which it seems is now accompanied by a touch-sensitive trackpad integrated into the side arm.

"Don't touch the pad on the side" Brin warned Newsom when balancing Project Glass on his face. Although the exec didn't talk through exactly what he was doing in terms of navigation, he was seen to slide his finger back and forward to locate a previously-taken photo – potentially using some sort of carousel UI like CoverFlow – and then later swiped downward, perhaps to dismiss the gallery.

As for when the rest of us could try Project Glass, Brin suggested that a commercial launch might be closer than previously believed. "I have some hopes to maybe get it out sometime next year" he said, "but that's still a little bit of a hope." Still, the project is "a heck of a lot further along than people have imagined."

Project Glass has been a Google X Labs endeavor for the past 2-3 years, Brin confirmed, with his own involvement ramping up in the past 12 months. So far, Google's demonstrations have focused on the camera functionality of the headset, though it is also expected to include navigation and telecommunication features.