Google Moves Forward With Its Long-Rumored Augmented-Reality Glasses

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
April 4 2012 4:19 PM

Google Moves Forward With Its Long-Rumored Augmented-Reality Glasses

Today, Google publicly launched “Project Glass,” its foray into creating augmented reality glasses. Rumors about the product—also known online as “heads-up display” or Terminator glasses—have  been circulating for months.

Employees at Google X, a futuristic product development lab, announced the project in post on Google+. In addition to soliciting public input, they released pictures of “what this technology could look like” and a video that shows “what it might enable you to do.” Wired’s Steven Levy emphasizes that right now this is “very much a concept as opposed to a product.” The New York Times’ Nick Bilton says that Google will begin testing a version of glasses in public shortly. His February piece on the glasses, which first exposed many to the project, claimed they might be for sale by the end of 2012. As Levy points out, this now seems unlikely.

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In the video below, the prototype enabled the user to send text messages with voice commands, video chat, receive alerts, access maps and directions, and take pictures, among other things.

The glasses look less clunky than you might have imagined; they are more of a wire band with a device and clear display screen above the eye on one side. According to the Times, Google is also developing a version that would attach to regular pairs of glasses.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Caitlin Mac Neal is an intern for Future Tense.