Google Glass, while still a ways away for the everyday consumer, is perhaps the single most innovative piece of technology since the iPad.
The search giant showed off its new eye-wear technology in a series of videos in February, and since then, the buzz surrounding it has only picked up. All it takes is a simple "Okay Glass" command to start using it to the full extent of your imagination. Users can use it to search the web, take photos with a 5 MP camera, watch and record videos (720p video), send messages and even conduct searches. It's one of the most impressive pieces of technology to come around in a long time, and could be the renaissance moment wearable computing needs to make it become mainstream.
Google's (GOOG) core business is advertising and search, but Glass is poised to be more than just another way to get you to search and use Google's products. It allows you to stay connected and access information, all while not looking down at your smartphone a hundred times a day. Google has increasingly upped the ante with hardware, as it looks to compete with Apple (AAPL), Samsung (SSNLF) and others, and Glass is something that makes Google stand out from the other competitors. Apple and Samsung are reportedly working on smart watches, as is Google, but Glass is something entirely different. It's revolutionary, not evolutionary.
Google Glass is equipped with a high resolution display that Google says is the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away, though some reviews have questioned that. It comes with 12 GB of usable memory, with 16 GB of Flash storage in total, and runs on Android, something which Google CEO Larry Page announced on Google's latest earnings call. Google has said that Glass has exceptional battery life, lasting one full day with typical use, though recent reviews have suggested far less, some showing as little as 5 hours. Battery life will get better, as Google works on this issue and releases multiple versions of the technology.
Google is also reportedly in talks with eye-wear designer Warby Parker to make the technology trendier, and less like something from Star Trek. To me, that signals that there is exceptional interest in the product, and is not just for developers and a small niche group of people.
Developers are expected to get it later this year at a cost of $1,500 per unit, but unfortunately you'll have to wait until 2014 to pick it up unless you were selected as one of the "bold, creative individuals who want to join [Google] and be a part of shaping the future of Glass." At a cost of $1,500, the first version is still too costly for most people, and I likely will wait until the price comes down, but I'm incredibly intrigued. Every video I watch, and every review I read whets my appetite even more.
Yes, there are concerns about privacy, with Glass potentially becoming more invasive than we've even dreamed about. However, that's an issue for another day.
The possibilities for the technology are endless, and could allow us to view our surroundings in a way we never thought possible. I'm truly excited to see what Google has in store for us at its I/O developer conference later this month, and beyond. Google Glass may be in fact the device the technology industry needs to advance hardware in the 21st century and beyond.