The UK has become the second country after the US to see Google Glass technology go on sale. The Android powered smart glasses will carry a price tag of £1,000, with the prototype being targeted towards developers rather than the consumer market.
Ivy Ross, the new Head of Glass at Google said: “We know there’s a pent-up demand for Glass, from all over the world. As we start to branch out we picked the UK first because we think it has a history of embracing technology, design and fashion, and I think there’s a resurgence happening in technology in the UK.”
Google Glass was first announced back in April of 2012. Since then it has gone through five hardware revisions and 12 software updates ahead of its UK release. More revisions are likely before Glass is targeted at consumers, with many also anticipating a price reduction. The current cost is to “manage take-up” and encourage app development, according to IHS Technology consultancy’s Ian Fogg.
The eyewear kit features a transparent display, which allows users to view a 25-inch screen in front of their eyes. This can then be used to display apps and interact with their surroundings in a new way. Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google has praised them as a way to “free your eyes”.
Additionally, Glass will include a built-in camera and microphone allowing you to record video, audio and photos. Sounds can either be played back to the user via traditional headphones or by using a bone conduction transducer to send vibrations through the wearer’s skull. They will also be available in a range of styles.
The eyewear’s major attraction is the hands-free technology that offers an interesting alternative to smartphone devices. The current potential is huge, with map apps delivering real-time directions and Glass game titles offering a new experience that could eventually change the way we play, whether it be on major console titles or on an online casino by Royal Vegas.
As the UK release allows more developers to familiarize themselves with the wearable kit, the more exciting and attractive the product will become. However, there have already been a number of concerns regarding the possible impacts on privacy.
A number of companies have already stated that they would prohibit staff and customers from wearing the Glass or using it to record footage. The Vue cinema chain has said that guests will be instructed to remove the eyewear “as soon as the lights dim before a screening”, while Ulster Hospital highlighted the fact that hospitals must adhere to a strict no-photography rule.
Some cafes, bars and casinos have also banned the technology, with the Department of Transport also raising concerns.
“Glass was designed with privacy in mind,” stated Ross. “We certainly developed it out of the gate – the prototype – with what we thought would address those issues, but we are also totally listening and learning from our beta program. When the screen goes on you can see it [as a bystander] for instance.”
Ross also added that with greater adoption of the new technology, some of the privacy concerns may be assured. She said: “with some things we have found, where those concerns over privacy have cropped up in the US, when people actually try it, even legislators, and put it on their face a lot of those concerns go away.”
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