Google today finally announced ProjectGlass — sort of. That is, it announced it is moving toward a wearable, hands-free mobile (visual and verbal) search product.
It’s all about Augmented Reality (AR).
You wear the glasses. Voice-recognition and text to speech add to the visual search capabilities Google has been investigating with its Google Goggles for a long time now, execs explain. So you’re able to text by talking — read texts or recognize objects without taking your eye off the road — the vertical opportunities for this seem huge. Still …
Essentially, with ProjectGlass, your earware becomes your eyewear. No smartphone, just AR — Augmented Reality plus visual and verbal search right in your field of vision, all the time. The billion dollar question is: Would you wear the glasses? For some, it’s a little too much (virtual) reality. Stephen Levy, a long-time journalist buddy of mine, had strong words about the concept in Wired today.
I want to see more, though. The visual search wars are going to make the search wars of yore look like fisticuffs. Part of who wins the visual search wars is going to be about who makes the gear.
Check out the video at top to see how Google envisions the system will provide hands-free, mobile access. And yes, we’re in California, but you still do need the glasses. Or at least an accessory to add to your glasses.
In its Google + post today, Google execs wrote:
A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.
There is a lot to say on this topic. Here’s just one idea to kick around. Hewlett Packard, when it purchased Palm, inherited some of the world’s most fundamental visual search patents.
How and whether that technology plays here is something worth deep study.
How will the visual search wars play out — with or without Google Goggles and ProjectGlass.
How likely are you to wear one of those things?
The present is a poor indicator of the future, all visionaries know. Imagine someone describing Twitter a decade ago.
Necessity isn’t always the mother of invention.
Sometimes — just sometimes — it works the other way around.