Google has issued the specifications for its spectacles.
The search-engine giant’s Google Glass, an augmented-reality headset that allows wearers to view information on a tiny screen embedded in one of the lenses, features a camera capable of snapping 5-megapixel photos and 720p video. That aforementioned screen, in the words of Google’s just-released specs sheet, “is the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away.”
Google Glass can rely on WiFi (802.11 b/g) and Bluetooth. It features 12GB of usable memory, synced with Google’s cloud storage (actual onboard storage is 16GB). Google has built a “bone conduction transducer” into the device, which transmits sound to the inner ear through the cranial bones; it’s the same sort of technology used in everything from hearing aids to specialized headsets for high-noise environments.
Google Glass is compatible with any Bluetooth-capable phone. Its MyGlass app, which enables SMS messaging and GPS, requires a companion device running Android 4.0.3 (the “Ice Cream Sandwich” build) or higher. Google claims the battery will provide a “full day of typical use,” although the company warned in the specs sheet that certain functions—most notably video recording and Hangouts—could drain the battery faster.
Google used this year’s South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas to show off some apps currently under development for the eyewear, including a New York Times app that will provide headlines and images to the tiny screen embedded in the lens. Google Glass’s voice-recognition capabilities will also have a large role to play with the Gmail app in development, with the ability to answer incoming emails via speech.
Google has poured considerable effort into demonstrating that Google Glass can be a viable product. In February, it launched a Website demonstrating the core software features, including the ability to snap a point-of-view image simply by saying, “Take a picture.” They can also ask questions of Google Glass (“How many miles between New York City and Washington DC?”) and receive answers on the screen.
All that being said, Google Glass also raises some thorny questions about surveillance culture, and whether people really want whole crowds recording every moment of our collective lives. But those are the sort of conundrums that will only become more clear when Google Glass is actually released sometime later this year.