When Google announced Glass almost a year ago, a concept video was released showing what sort of features the company wanted to incorporate into the reality-augmenting gear. Today, Google released a video preview that shows how its Google Glass eyewear computer actually works, demonstrating a new interface as well as details on previously unknown functionality.
Google Glass will be voice-activated, with users in the video saying ‘OK Glass’ to ask the device to perform a command. Sending a message appears to be as easy as dictating your thoughts, or you can say “Hang out with ” to make a video call. When searching, you can query for regular search terms as well as photos, which are displayed in a grid of three-by-two in the video.
You can also ask the device to translate phases into other languages, and it will speak back to you the translated words – a feature not previously demoed by Google. Another previously unseen (yet widely expected) feature spotted in the video is Google Now integration. In an example of a couple at the airport, a man sees his terminal, gate, and departure information in the corner of his Google Glass display. The video also hints that you will be able to use Google Glass to get Google Maps-powered navigation directions in traffic, on the ski slopes, and elsewhere.
The hardware powering the Glass display itself is perched just above your ordinary field of view, like at the top of the frame of sunglasses.
Google released the video to herald a new wave of pre-order openings for the US$1,500 gadget. Only a limited set of developers and pundits have been able to try them out up to this point, but now, Google is running a contest that opens pre-orders to “bold, creative individuals” who impress Google-ites with their plans for the eyewear. You’ll need to share your ambitions on Google+ or Twitter using the #ifihadglass hashtag, and yes, you still need to lay down US$1,500 for the device if you’re picked. There are a few other niggling rules for this US-only promotion, which you can read here.
And what if you’re not picked? There’s no set launch date for Google Glass, but the company has said it aims to have them available for general sale by 2014.