Google’s hungry eyes

Google has its eye on the future with Project Glass, a sci-fi-looking set of glasses that’s actually a working computer.

Glass has been causing waves in the tech world despite the fact that a public release probably won’t happen until 2014, and the gadget already has at least a couple of would-be competitors, including Microsoft.

While the exact capabilities of Google’s futuristic glasses aren’t yet known, Project Glass will have the Android operating system and will be location-aware, thanks to a camera and GPS.

A lady wearing a pair of the Google glasses.  Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

The user can scroll and click by tilting his or her head, and Google recently patented a way to unlock the device by tracking the user’s eye movements.

While Glass can connect to a smartphone by means of WiFi or Bluetooth 4.0, it seems designed more to replace the smartphone than to augment it. The glasses should aid wearers in navigation, check subway schedules, take pictures and even let users video chat with each other at a moment’s notice.

These computerized glasses continue two trends that have been ongoing in recent years: the increasing personalization of technology and the convergence of phone and Internet technology.

Laptops made digital information more portable than desktop computers, and smartphones did so to an even larger degree. Smartphones also made technology more symbiotic, as media and information suddenly began traveling in our pockets rather than in briefcases and backpacks.

The convergence of phone and Internet technology has been happening from both directions; smartphone users can browse the Internet just like they could on a computer, and phone companies like Vonage provide phone service through a broadband connection. Programs like Skype and Apps like FaceTime blur the line even more, allowing users to communicate visually as well as vocally over computers and smartphones.

Google is already experimenting with a variety of options for Glass users, such as a design that can fit over eyeglasses, and even the possibility of someday making computerized contact lenses.

These glasses stand to bring humans and their technology even closer together, and to make technology even more indispensable than it already is. For now, they are little more than the promise of possibility — and perhaps a sign of humanity’s subconscious desire to create Skynet.