Posted on
June 24th, 2014

Google Glass Hits UK

Google Glass Explorer program has finally reached the UK and you can go and explore the Google Glass headset in London this weekend.

We’re the second country after the USA to get a ‘Basecamp’, and the opportunity for over 18s to buy a prototype set – for £1000. Developers are the target market, with Google hoping for feedback to improve the device which is still in beta.

Google pitches Glass as a hands-free, quick-to-use alternative to smartphones .The kit features a transparent display that projects the illusion of a floating screen about 8ft in front of the wearer’s right eye, which can be used to display information from apps. You can record photos, videos and sounds, and play audio.

The Look of the Thing

Google have told early adopters that they’re “gonna get some questions” and Waterstones have suggested wearers could face “mild ridicule”. The futuristic look of the Glasses may appeal to techies who grew up with sci-fi books and movies, but more fashion conscious options are being developed.

Designer Diane Von Furstenberg has created a Google Glass collection for Net-a-Porter and Google themselves are creating a line of more sophisticated frames.

Google Glass Apps

Ivy Ross – head of Glass at Google X – has said the glasses so far lack a “killer app” but there are some exciting options currently being developed;

  • The Refresh app pulls data from multiple online sources, including Facebook & Linkedin, to provide an instant cheat sheet on the person in front of you – great news for networking, but unlikely to alleviate privacy concerns.
  • Students at Georgia Tech have created a real time speech transcription app, with great implications for the deaf and hearing impaired.
  • Word lens provides instant translation of foreign languages – making holidays and business trips easier.
  • Goal.com – this app helps you keep up with the footie wherever you are.
  • Google Play Music provides voice activated tunes.
  • Race Yourself, celebrities or zombies with an augmented reality app, which helps you gauge your real time progress.
  • augmented-reality apps, such as AR Glass for Wikipedia, retrieve online data about your surroundings and display them in your sight.
  • GolfSight is a golf GPS rangefinder made specifically for Glass. It gives you accurate pin distance, course data, and scoring info.

Controversy

There has also been controversy around the technology, with 20% of polled UK residents in favour of an outright ban and Vue cinema chain banning the product from their screenings. US early adopters have been subject to public objections, mockery and in one or two cases, assault.

Ivy Ross has pointed out that “In 1890 they banned Kodak cameras from parks.” Google have also pointed out that the product lights up when it takes photos and have provided their own etiquette guide for glass users.

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