Those rumors about some Google HUD glasses on the horizon were more than a mirage: turns out these things are really happening.
In case holding a phone in your hand and occasionally looking up to scan your surroundings is simply too taxing of a task for you to handle, Google is ushering in a new era of info-searching with what is basically an internet browser for your face. The HUD (as in heads-up display) devices are glasses with lenses on which internet displays are projected so that the wearer can access info about whatever they're looking at without using a computer or smartphone. Alternately, I suppose you could be walking through the Louvre and be crassly checking your Twitter feed simultaneously with the use of the Google HUD glasses. Whatever your purpose for this ocular upgrade is, expect an overlay of information on your world when you use them.
Since my previous example of what you could expect the HUD-enabled vision to look like irked some sci-fi fan boys, I'm going to delightfully reuse that example. Looking through the HUD glasses may resemble something like this:
The New York Times had the opportunity to speak with thou-shalt-not-be-named Google employees who confirmed that, yes, these HUD glasses will be on the market before the end of 2012. These insiders also spilled some new information about what to expect from these virtual Voltrons, such as that it will operate on Android (no surprise, there), a low-res built-in camera that will be able to identify the locations you're looking at, and will have either a 3G or 4G connection.
One of the key people involved with the glasses is Steve Lee, a Google engineer and creator of the Google mapping software, Latitude. As a result of Mr. Lee’s involvement, location information will be paramount in the first version released to the public, several people who have seen the glasses said. The other key leader on the glasses project is Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, who is currently spending most of his time in the Google X labs.
The glasses will send data to the cloud and then use things like Google Latitude to share location, Google Goggles to search images and figure out what is being looked at, and Google Maps to show other things nearby, the Google employee said. “You will be able to check in to locations with your friends through the glasses,” they added.
The Times report doesn't verify whether to expect a Cr-48 beta-style of testing but it does mention that Google's intent is to make these HUD glasses available to anybody and everybody for the cool-ish price of $250 to $600. So get excited, tourists.
While these glasses are surely going to be fun to play with, I can't help but snicker at the meta-humor involved with Google basically applying Street View to actual streets. When did merely walking around and kindly enjoying the mysterious surroundings of a new environment become so boring to everybody?