The Future in Our Faces: Google Tests a Wearable Interface

David Weiss
Apr. 11, 2012 by David Weiss

Recently I blogged about one of Microsoft’s visions for the future, a vision in which people sent messages not only with computers and phones but also with desks, refrigerators and even glasses. Many parts of this vision seem plausible, since that’s where we’re already headed, with increasingly flexible, capable smartphones and the increasing availability of Internet-capable devices. The New York Times just blogged about Google’s Project Glass, which explores the potential of “augmented-reality” glasses that run the Android mobile platform.

Here is Google’s vision for how these new glasses would work:

A good idea, or a bad idea? Time will tell, assuming it gets to the assembly line. But one thing is clear: Devices are getting both smarter and more various. And when you can’t use a device to talk in real time, you’re going to need to send a message. The world is going to need a reliable way to get any kind of message to any kind of device, no matter what the future brings.


  • I counted around 16 messages or notifications – sent and received. Neat concept, though any kind of body-attached technology gives me the Borg creeps.

  • Plugging earbuds into your ears is much creepier and more invasive than wearing glasses IMO 😛

  • Talk about creepy, in the NYT piece they also link to a piece about embedding the monitor in a contact lens:

  • Interesting concept, reminds me of an old William Gibson novel. I’d want to see a clip of what it looks like from a third-person view when someone is using them. It’s already interesting to watch people on the street using Bluetooth headsets.

  • Just because we _can_ be constantly connected and sending/receiving messages doesn’t mean we always _should_.

    There is quite a few books with the “always online/connected” theme; two of my favorites are “Technogenesis” by Syne Mitchell (who I used to work with) and “Extras” by Scott Westerfeld.

  • Oops, Mike, meant to reply to you directly. Check out the vid link John posted above for a good, objective view of how this could play out.

  • Then Mike, you have to check out the link John posted above for that perspective. Not third-person, but a valuable perspective.

  • Ah, how far we’ve come from the hand-delivered letters sealed with wax, and a servant waiting for you to pen a reply. At least then, you knew your recipient got the message, and if the servant waited to watch you read it, you knew they read it.

    We always seem to be solving the same problems, just on a different scale. Invitations were often sent out individually, so a party with invites to 100 guests would require several servants away from other tasks for a day, whereas 100 email take maybe a second to send, and a fraction of a cent cost. And email is definitely less intrusive than than hand-delivery, but you still have to watch out for someone reading your message.

  • I would make mine offline unless I was using it but still use it instead of a phone pretty much. I think augmented reality has its place, but it isn’t necessarily social media like this seems to make it. I think it would be WAY better as a spell-checker for work, or as a visual “ruler” to measure things and check for the edges in a web layout being flush.

    I mean what apps do I really use on my iPhone right now? Little simplistic ones like Grocery Lists, Calendar, Email, Calculator, etc. Oh yea… and augmented reality games would be AWESOME.

  • Dawn-Marie: I love it in books / movies about England in the 1800s when the post office delivered several time per DAY. I think it’s human nature to crave news / information. The question I guess is where do we draw the line.

  • As an avid science fiction fan, especially cyborgs and nanotech, I would draw the line at replacing parts of my brain. Getting “plug-ins” for it like contact lenses and headphones seem fine to me.

    I wouldn’t want anything I couldn’t easily take off or turn off of course. Have you bought a spartphone recently? They don’t even let you uninstall the NASCAR app they give to you on-board when you buy it. I wouldn’t trust companies like that to not put ads inside my body somehow…

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