Google Glass Unlikely to Be Game Changer in 2013

Google's wearable computer is unlikely to make waves until 2014.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrates Google's new Glass, wearable internet glasses, at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
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Don't expect Google Glass—the computerized goggles the company debuted in April 2012—to make it to market in 2013: One of the device's designers recently said the glasses are "in flux."

"We haven't actually talked about specific features," Babak Parviz, an electrical engineer working with Google on the project, recently told IEEE Spectrum. "The feature set for the device is not set yet. It is still in flux."

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That's bad news for people hoping to get their hands on the glasses in 2013. But some developers will be able to buy a preview "Explorer" edition of the device sometime this year for $1,500, according to the company.

Jay Nancarrow, Google's Project Glass spokesperson, says that schedule hasn't changed since the company's I/O 2012 convention, held in June.

"There'll be a future release aimed at general consumers, but so far we have no major updates," he told U.S. News. "The final feature set hasn't been announced yet."

That isn't soon enough for Rod Furlan, an artificial intelligence expert who designed a rudimentary version of Google Glass using already-existing components in late 2012. Furlan used smartphone and iPod touch parts to put together something resembling Google Glass and mounted them on a Myvu Crystal, a wearable screen released in 2008. The resulting glasses streamed text messages, phone notifications, and more to his Myvu.

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"My world changed the day I first wore my prototype. At first there was disappointment—my software was rudimentary…then there was discomfort," he writes. "But when the batteries drained a few hours later and I took the prototype off, I had a feeling of loss. It was as if one of my senses had been taken away from me."

Augmented reality experts have said that Google Glass could be an interesting first step toward an always on, Internet-assisted reality, but that the technology doesn't yet exist for the goggles to be a true game changer.

"In one simple fake video … Google has created a level of over-hype and over-expectation that their hardware cannot possibly live up to," Blair MacIntyre, of Georgia Tech's Augmented Environments Lab told Wired in 2012. "It's going to generate ideas in people and expectations that might not match."

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Parviz's recent comments seem to suggest that the company has lots of work to do on the device. He said the team is still "working on" letting people answer calls with the glasses and that there are battery life and eye-strain concerns still left to remedy.

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