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Google Shows Its Glass, and More

It was like a scene from a Michael Bay movie, just without the explosions – wait, it wouldn’t be a Michael Bay movie then, would it – hipster extreme sport types jumping out of a plane and parachuting, and also in wingsuits, down to the convention center that Google was holding their big IO Conference presentation.  All of it was being streamed live via Google+ with the company’s leader,  Sergey Brin, wearing the device that they had shown off via video presentations just a few months earlier.

This, as in interruption of the conference, was Google showing off the promise of Google Glass – in real time.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, Glass is a wearable device that looks like a pair of glasses, without lenses, that not only can video everything you see, but also project images into your line of site that you can interact with.  It’s all very Jetsons.

What was interesting from the conference isn’t that there looks to be a lot of working prototypes of the device, or the fact that as a prototype it is already incredibly small, or the fact that Google made the device available to attendees for $1500 (shipping Q1 2013) to assist in development, but that what we ended up being shown was a device that simply shot video.  We were not shown any of the interactive web access, or how the device can display to its user directions or other information.  No, there was none of the very cool Terminator-like graphical display that the previous video showed off.  What we got was maybe the most awesome GoPro Hero killer, ever.  Surely the device is capable of much more and in fact the a few media member were allowed to wear Brin’s pair and saw what was described in the LA Times as

“The titanium frames were lightweight and comfortable. They were in “demo mode” and just showed a video of fireworks. The image, which was above my right eye and above my normal line of sight, was quite small. As I moved my head, the video panned. If I cupped my right ear as Brin directed, the sound of the fireworks was amplified.  It wasn’t a true demo of the glasses. Brin clearly did not want the media to see his text messages or email. But had it been activated, I would have heard an alert when a high-priority email arrived in his inbox. I would then tilt my head up to see the message display.”

For anyone watching this and thinking, “how geeky do you look wearing that?” remember how weird brick sized cell phones, original bluetooth earpieces and jam boxes on a shoulder looked.  If the 1st gen is this small (reportedly weighs less than a normal pair of sunglasses) you can quickly see how in a couple of years Glass could end up almost invisible.  But, there was a sense that Google isn’t quite sure yet what the product is, or will be. Brin claims that he gets all of his email and voicemail via the device (although that was “deactivated” for the demo) and maybe that is part of the interesting decision to tell the people in attendance (largely developers) they could buy their own pair of Glass(es?) for $1500 and would have them them at the beginning of next year.  Google needs everyone smart to think about this product and figure out where it is headed.  Right now it’s very cool, but it really doesn’t do anything transformative.  Yet.

Google also showed off the new Nexus 7 tablet – aimed right at the Kindle Fire – with its new interface, connection to Google Play and a set of specs that really turn up the game.  It will be made by Asus for Google and sell for $200.

We also got a look at the next version of Android, 4.1, aka: Jelly Bean.  This really is more of a list of improvements than a major upgrade in the OS, but there was a nightly impressive demo of “Google Now” a true competitor to Apple’s Siri.

And then there was the very odd media box, er, ball, the Nexus Q.  A media hub in the shape and size of a softball, with glowing lights and a top half of the sphere that can rotate to control volume.  The idea is to compete against the Rokus, Apple TVs of the world, but with a built in amp and connects to all your Android devices to stream audio and video.  Oddly priced at $299.

And Google Events, a new party, occasions planner that works with Calendar and allows people to shot pictures and share them to the event’s invite which can be seen by anyone else that got the same invite.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 27:  A Nexus Cube is ...

 

 

 

 

 

Google Glasses: SuperNeat-o, but…

Yesterday the NY Times wrote a piece about Google’s long rumored project normally known as “Google Glasses”.  The once secret initiative is called Project Glass and is about as Jetsons a gizmo gets in 2012.

As you can see in the video below, Google wants to make glasses, or a headpiece you wear displaying interactive information right onto the wearer’s line of sight.  It’s kinda like any alien movie when you see the creatures POV.  Maps, contact info, texting, web surfing and pretty much everything else is there for the wearer to access.  All very exciting and hard to believe that people might actually have this tech in the coming years.  When you think about the idea of having this technology this soon, imagine what it will be like in 20 years.  Contact lenses?  Brain implants?  Who knows.

What we do know is that Google isn’t doing this simply for the welfare of mankind or to sell eyewear.

Google wants to know even more about you than they already do, and this contraption may very well do that – to the extreme.

Google is only in the personal data business.  Everything Google creates is done so with the intention of allowing them to gather as much specific data about you and your habits so they can crunch it into everyone else’s data and sell it as “behavior targeting”.  Google’s ability to serve you ads specific to you, your location and lifestyle (same as Facebook) is how they make their billions.

So, if Google could actually track, not just what your surfing, but exactly what you’re looking at?  Well, that is a whole new frontier.

It is a trade off.  The services Google provides are worthy tools to everyone’s daily life, and Google Glasses look like something – properly designed and implemented – would continue that trend.  But Google will know where you are, what products you’re looking at, who you’re talking to, what routes you take, what you’re talking about and pretty much everything else that goes on in your day.  Remember that.

All of that being said, the idea of Project Glass fascinates me.  I’d be in line day one to own them (assuming 1st gen glasses are close to what’s in the video).

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Google Loves 4/1

Google has always been a prankster on April Fool’s and this year was no different.

Starting with the 8bit treatment of Google Maps, to announcing they’ve taken their self-driving car program to NASCAR, to collars that translate your dog’s barks, to trying to resuscitate the rotary phone, but the winner for me was Gmail Tap.

“Every letter of the alphabet is represented by a simple pattern of dots and dashes, and once you know them you can type without even looking at your screen. This makes it ideal for situations where you need to discreetly send emails, such as when you’re on a date or in a meeting with your boss.”

Not every Google April Fool’s is funny, but this one was.  About the keyboard, “I feel overwhelmed.  There are so many buttons”.

But,really, wouldn’t Google’s time and efforts be better spent on getting Ice Cream Sandwich released for more handhelds? (sorry, I had to go there)

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MC Hammer Launches a Search Engine

MC Hammer at Web 2.0 Summit

Image by Kevin Krejci via Flickr

At Web Summit 2.0 in San Fransisco this week, MC Hammer announced he was launching a search engine.

Yeah, like Google or Bing, kinda.  Hammer explained that’s a relational search portal so if you search for a home, your results will bring back info about neighborhoods, schools and insurance… ZZZzzzzzzzz….

It will be called, Wiredoo, and I guess Hammer has been going to events like this for a while… Who knew?

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Ice Cream Sandwich & Galaxy Nexus Are Here

The long awaited unveiling of Ice Cream Sandwich, the operating system for Android that hopes to unify the platform for both phones and tablets, happened Tuesday night along with the first device to use the OS, the Samsung Nexus Prime.

I’ll post more about both here soon, but there are a lot of links that will give you the full details below.  But this is a big deal and the phone is a winner.

Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) removes the psyical button with ones that appear on the touch screen only when needed, facial recognition software that ID’s the user’s face to unlock the phone (although the demo of this didn’t work during the live presentation), new multi-tasking design and app grouping and icon organizing features are all new things found in the OS.

The Samsung Nexus promises to sit on top of the “most powerful” smartphone throne when it hots stores with a fast processor, 4.65 screen running 720p, 1 Gig of RAM, and it will also have Near Field Communications (NFC) for mobile payments.  But it is the curved glass and body that will make everyone Ooo and Aahhh when it hits stores in November.

 

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Podcast

Google tries Chat again, this time with RCS

Google tries Chat again, this time with RCS
The GeekOut

 
 
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Google tries Chat again, this time with RCS