Google Glass Chief: “I Think In the Future It Will Actually Come,” Says Project “In Flux” — In case you didn’t catch it just now, Spectrum just posted a great interview with Google Glass chief and inventor Babak Parviz, shown below in a stock photo.

A terrific story.


The high points: There are no apps for it planned, it’s a continual work in progress that has changed significantly since its high-flying launch with a video demonstration mock up on YouTube and, augmented reality (AR), while in the cards, might not be in the immediate cards. It will, he says strangely, include a trackpad. Most telling. In the interview, Parviz gives the interviewer an awfully tremulous answer about the eventuality of the tech, though perhaps it is less strange coming as it does from an engineer.

You be the judge. He said: “I think in the future it will actually come.” Think? Actually?

For sure, the Google Glass project — also known as a wearable smartphone or Google Glasses — will make sense first not for buyers and geeks like me and you all reading this, but for vertical markets. This is similar to how mobile computers got their start. You saw the first bulky ones in rental car return lots at least a decade before anyone outside Cupertino or whatever was carrying on.

Parviz, we should note, was an electrical enginnering professor in 2012 who had done some writing on the idea of wearable computers when Google tapped him for his position as chief of the Google Glass project in 2010. Below is an excerpt from the excellent Spectrum article — read the full verson here.

IEEE Spectrum: What is Google trying to accomplish with Google Glass?
Babak Parviz: We wanted to have a device that would do two things that we think would be useful for a lot of people. One is to have a device that would allow for pictorial communications, to allow people to connect to others with images and video. Right now, we don’t have any devices that are specifically engineered to connect to others using images or video. So we wanted to have a device that would see the world through your eyes and allow you to share that view with other people. The second big goal was to have a technology that would allow people to access information very, very quickly. So when you have a question, you can very rapidly get to the answer.
IEEE Spectrum: Bruce Sterling, the science fiction writer, said he isn’t very excited about Google Glass because it isn’t truly augmented reality. What’s your response to that?
Babak Parviz: I would say that even though augmented reality isn’t our immediate goal for Google Glass, I think in the future that augmented reality will also come into the picture. So augmented reality is exciting when you think about future generations of this type of wearable computing.
IEEE Spectrum: So you’re saying to Bruce that he should stay tuned?
Babak Parviz: Yes. I personally find it exciting, and I think in the future it will actually come.
IEEE Spectrum: It’s been around six months since Google last provided access to Google Glass prototypes. What has changed about the product since then?
Babak Parviz: We constantly try out new ideas of how this platform can be used. There’s a lot of experimentation going on at all times in Google. We’re also trying to make the platform more robust. This includes making the hardware more robust and the software more robust, so we can ship it to developers early this year.
IEEE Spectrum: Are there any specific new features?
Babak Parviz: We haven’t actually talked about specific features. We have mentioned some basic capabilities, like taking a picture and sharing it. We are experimenting with a lot of things. The feature set for the device is not set yet. It is still in flux.
IEEE Spectrum: How will people interact with Google Glass?
Babak Parviz: Right now, we have a touch pad on the device that allows people to change things on the device if they wish to do so. We have also experimented a lot with using voice commands. We have full audio in and audio out, which is a nice, natural way of interacting with something that you’d wear and always have with you. We have also experimented with some head gestures.