Google Glass has been on the radar for quite some time, and as the search giant’s first attempt to bring wearable computing to the masses gets closer, the tech world is ablaze with questions about what the device actually does and its implications- both good and bad.
To date only a handful of developers have been lucky enough to get their hands on the augmented reality goggles after entering into a lottery to shell out $1,500 of their own money for a pair of the spectacles.
Google Glass is a hugely intuitive device that allows users to do things like scroll through and reply to messages, without using their hands. It could prove to be a real game changer in the computing industry as well as other areas like gaming, but firstly let’s look at how Google Glass actually works.
What is Google Glass?
In a nut shell, Google Glass in its current iteration is a wearable web browser featuring Google Now that can also take pictures and videos when a user commands it to. All data is controlled by a microphone and touchpad on one arm of the frame allowing users to select what they want to do with a brief gesture or talking directly to the device.
Using display technology Google Glass is an attempt to free data from desktop computers and portable devices, placing everything right in front of your eyes without obstructing your view. Google describes the display as being “the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away” and rumours suggest it could have a screen resolution of 640 x 360.
Many critics have already raised concerns that Google Glass breaches privacy, something which is likely to come from the fact that the camera is placed on the front centre of the device. A lack of LED notification light at the side of the camera, to indicate when pictures and videos are being taken, will no doubt make people feel uneasy and question whether they are constantly being recorded.
Any photographs taken with Google Glass aren’t immediately uploaded anywhere, and the processing for the most part happens in the cloud, not on the device. Google Glass is far more focussed on bringing things like news stories, email and social network updates directly to users than sharing and uploading images.
When it comes to recording videos Google Glass simply doesn’t have the ability or battery power to track everything around you, and by default the device will only record short, 10 second clips.
How will Google Glass impact gaming?
When it comes to gaming Google Glass will undoubtedly blur the boundaries between what is real and what is not, with more virtual games being able to use real-world settings as a game-space.
Google Glass sits on top of your head providing data as an overlay of the real world, while giving a natural first person viewpoint which is said to make alternate reality feel more natural. It provides a controllable yet unique experience which unfolds over time, rather than simply stacking different forms of data on top of one another.
While augmented reality isn’t a new concept Google Glass hopes to enhance portable and mobile gaming which has been made hugely popular by high-end spec-filled smartphones like the Galaxy S3. Google Glass is said to combine virtual spaces with reality more efficiently than any other product has before.
Of course Google Glass will also need new apps to make for engaging new experiences and developers like Dekko, which has a team of augmented reality specialists on board, are already working on software that captures 3D renders of the real world in which characters can come to life.
John Hanke, vice president for Niantic Labs, an internal start-up linked with Google that brought the virtual reality game Ingress to the fore, said: “We need mobile devices that are less intrusive than the phone is”.
And, with Google Glass representing a new era of gaming Hanke predicts it will provide experiences that “takeover the mind”, and hopefully lead in large part to the mainstream success of the device as well as the popularity of various arenas including gaming.
The possibilities of Google Glass are vast and it seems even the best mobile phone deals could struggle to stand out against the device, particularly in terms of gaming, when it finally goes on sale in 2014.
It really is a fantastic concept and one that looks to change the way users absorb information and how much they rely on technology in their everyday lives. But there is no doubt Google will have to pull out all the stops to convince users and industry experts alike that this is far more than just another gimmick.
Written by Sarah Hazelwood of Phones 4u, the number one destination for all the latest smartphones.