On Wednesday during the TED Conference in Long Beach, California, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, sporting the Google Glass headset, told a captive audience that he's still bothered by the use of smartphones, that they are somehow "emasculating". Users are standing around rubbing a featureless piece of glass, and apparently that's not very masculine.
Brin acknowledged that Google Glass also requires a little rubbing, but the current hardware has fewer features than most phones, thus less "rubbing" required. Google Glass also has the upper hand because there will always be a camera ready to snap a picture by a mere voice command – rubbing is not required.
The point he was seemingly trying to make is that the ideal search technology would surface information before the user even asks for it. He's been working on that problem for the last 15 years, and Google Glass is the first form factor that can truly deliver on that vision. He's also spent the last two years fine-tuning the actual physical design, describing the original vision as a "cell phone strapped to your head".
The Google Glass camera has been the source of concern for privacy groups for some time. During CES 2013, Vuzix even relayed a similar concern it was facing regarding its competing product, the Smart Glass M100. Like Google Glass, it features a camera that allows users to quietly take pictures without the typical obvious motions used with smartphones.
According to the Vuzix rep, there are social aspects to consider when launching "smart glasses" such as secretly recording video, walking in public areas using the device, actually driving a car with the headset in place and so on. Reception for the Smart Glass M100 has been outstanding, the rep said, but the company needs to do more research and come up with a suitable marketing strategy.
Brin recently told CNN that Google Glass will have an automatic picture-taking mode, allowing the user to snap pictures at preset intervals like every five seconds. Later a Google representative said that not every Google Glass unit will automatically record an image at preset intervals, as the first wave of Google Glass units will not ship with the auto-photo function.
Still, how would you like to look at a person what has a wearable camera pointing in your face? Creepy, right? "Basically everyone with Google Glass will have a Closed Camera Television on their head, (CCTV) and have the ability to broadcast their 'vision' to the world," one consumer questions on Google's product forums. "What if someone does not feel comfortable being broadcasted nationally?"
Brin's TED Conference presentation arrives as Google wraps up its application submittal window for an "Explorer" edition of Google Glass. This pilot program will be the last chance non-developers will be able to get their hands on the specs until they supposedly go on sale for under $1500 USD by the end of the year.