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GOOGLE GAMBLES ON GLASSGoogle's foray into wearable technology - Glass - is a step toward the dream of ubiquitous computing in which the Internet is available everywhere at all times without the need for interrupting the task at hand. With Glass, Google puts the Internet even closer than your fingertips-right at eye level and integrates information into the wearer's visual experience. But will the technology catch on with the average user?
What It Feels LikeGlass creates an augmented reality in which information and some cellphone functions are accessible by a slight head movement or tap of a finger to the temple. Check the weather as you get ready in the morning without having to look down at your phone. Get turn-by-turn directions overlaid on the actual roads as you look at them. Get real-time flight status updates as you move through the airport. That's the idea, anyway. But since Glass will be tethered to WiFi or your cellphone's data plan (it'll work with Android and iOS devices), if your data connection bogs down, Glass becomes useless.
The Good, the Bad and the Possibly UglyGood: Intuitive / Unobtrusive display / Unlimited uses
Bad: Tied to outside data source / Expensive toy-at least for now / Will require frequent updates
Ugly: Funny-looking / Potential for privacy violations (nobody has to know you're taking pictures) / Impractical for eyeglass wearers
How Do I Get It?For now, you don't-unless you're a Google developer or one of the lucky regular folks chosen as part of Google's Explorer program. The program, which sought applicants via Facebook and Twitter, will allow an unknown number of people to purchase the device for $1,500 to help in "shaping the future of Glass." It's believed the device will go on sale to the general public for less than that in time for the holiday season.
Other Adventures in Wearable TechFrom the calculator watches of the 1980s to devices that measure runners' heartrates, wearable technology is nothing new. Though it could be argued it's entering a golden age as computer memory becomes smaller and smaller-and cheaper and cheaper.
Apple is rumored to be developing the iWatch, a mysterious product said to include features like making calls, checking maps and displaying health-related data.
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