#io12 – Go, go, Google Glasses! See the next form factor for computing (video)

28 Jun 2012

At I/O yesterday, Google co-founder Sergey Brin wears the new Project Glass computer

If there’s one resounding message from Google I/O this year it is that Google has morphed from being an internet services company to a fully-fledged computing powerhouse. It’s now in the hardware business, but not only that it wants to reshape hardware as we know it.

Last night, Google debuted its own-branded and much-rumoured tablet computer the Nexus 7, which features a 12-core GPU for hardened gamers, as well as a Chrome browser.

As well as previewing the next Android OS called Jelly Bean, Google also unveiled a new form of cloud computer called the Nexus Q, a spherical object encircled with LED lighting that streams music, movies and more into the living room or bedroom.

You can’t help but feel Google wants to reshape computing forever and make the cloud the ecosystem for everything.

But the greatest insight into what’s coming in terms of the shape of computing is Project Glass, Google’s new computing form factor that as many of you know centres on wearable computing.

Project Glass, or Google Glasses (never pass over an opportunity for alliteration) has manifested itself in new spectacles that can sit on existing glasses or come with specially manufactured frames to allow users to do high-end social computing within their eyes’ sight.

Powerful, wearable computing

Last night, Google revealed it will be releasing the Google Glass Explorer Edition to software developers. Demoing the new hardware co-founder Sergey Brin said they feature a powerful processor and memory to store information and to the side of the device there’s a touchpad.

Inside the device are gyroscopes, a compass and accelerometers, as well as multiple radio types for data communications.

Isabelle Olsson, a lead designer on the project, said the tiny computer, which sits over the right eye, is placed in such a way as not to distract the user, “close enough to sense but not blocking their view.”

A unique selling point of the digital glasses is the ability to capture photos and video in a natural way and savour memories forever.

However, much work will have to be done around price. Attendees at I/O yesterday were given the option of buying development versions of Project Glass hardware for US$1,500.

You can’t help but be intrigued about how versatile mobile technology is making computing as we know it and if this video (below) recorded entirely via a Google Hangout on Glass of Googlers skydiving above the I/O event is anything to go by, the digital revolution just got a whole lot more exciting.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years