GOOGLE PROJECT GLASS LOOKS AS PROMISING AS MICROSOFT’S VISION OF THE TABLET PC IN 2001…
Google has only released one video and little else on their project for bringing augmented reality to the masses, so it’s hard to cast aspersions on what’s the most vapory of vaporware. That said, I’ll pick apart the video; in that even with the use of After Effects and the potential to show us anything, their vision of the future seems rather timid.
Like the silly Nintendo Power Glove in Minority Report (far less impressive than Microsoft’s Kinect and ideas in the labs when the movie was made), we get a vision of the future that feels dated before it happens.
Google’s glasses appear to just be a screen in front of your face with eye tracking. And I don’t mean that in the ‘iPhone is just a screen you touch’, way. It feels like Microsoft’s attempt at tablets in the early 2000’s. They figured your finger would just be a pointing device for Windows. Substitute ‘eye’ for ‘finger’ here and you get a shortsighted vision of the potential for this technology.
Google’s Glass doesn’t do anything different than what we do now. The screen is just in a different place. Think of how the iPad changed the way we interact with software or how Microsoft’s Kinect changed gaming. Augmented Reality could be bigger than all of this.
Touch interfaces took off when you realized that the medium had changed. Google’s Glass doesn’t feel that way. I don’t think they get their medium. My first case in point is the map feature:
How does Google envision using augmented reality to show us a map? They just float a regular map in front of you. Why not lay the map over on your field of view and actually show you a path to follow?
Second, let’s look at the trip to the book store. Obviously, Google doesn’t want to scare off brick and mortar partners with flashing deals to buy the book elsewhere. But why not use their already solid image recognition technology to hover reviews of the book or show us augmented publisher information. The same for the concert poster. Make the thing move. Show us what a connected world looks like.
Third, the apps were disappointing. When the girlfriend calls, why not make it look like she’s on the top of the building with him? Don’t just overlay reality, blend it. Why not create artificial elements in real space?
Fourth, show us virtual objects. What’s a virtual ebook look like to read or a magazine? I’d love to see what Google thinks the future of virtual items will be like with augmented reality. I have to image it’s more than a transparent screen.
That said, I’m excited that Google is taking the initiative on this. I’ll leave them with the words of Tom Hardy’s Eames in Inception, “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.”
For good time’s sake: