Earlier today we discussed Google's I/O conference keynote presentation, which gave updates on Android 4.1, Google+, the Nexus 7 tablet, and the Nexus Q streaming device. We also got a rather dramatic demonstration of Google Glass, complete with skydiving, bike flips, and rappelling. They followed up with a press conference solely dedicated to Glass, and Timothy was there to cover it. Read on for details about Glass.As we mentioned earlier, the developers at I/O have the option to buy the 'Explorer Edition' of Google Glass for $1,500. In addition to the (functional, but unfinished) device itself, they also get access to Google's engineers and to keep up with the devices development. Worry not: when the consumer version of the device is finalized, it will be cheaper, but of course they aren't ready to talk about actual prices yet. As for availability: "Less than a year after we get these Explorer Editions out."
Google wants to encourage creative hacking, even if they don't want the developers to immediately put the results in front of users. Sergey said, "Having used a lot of GoPros, what I really want to do is have 5 GoPros along with me — but also Glass, so you can easily capture the data hands-free, that you can see what you're capturing as you do it."
How do you click a web page? Sergey stumbles a bit -- "maybe you should switch to phone or try another device."
For tying into other Google services, and storing all that data, there is instant upload for pictures. Videos are larger, and they haven't finished how that interaction is going to work. The Google Map improvements with 3D views are perfect for viewing with the glasses.
Sergey also talked briefly about safety. Google has a lot of experience with this, particularly from the self-driving car. Speaking to actual experience: compared to driving, where you have distant view, plus dashboard instruments, etc., "This feels much safer." To objections that (say) even heads-up displays on cars are very limited, Sergey counters by pointing out that they only want to present a limited amount of data.
He went on to speak about the design of the glasses. There were two paths they had to choose from. Their initial instinct was to make these as much like glasses as possible; essentially a device disguised as glasses. Sergey said, "When we went through design options, decided, lets be bold .. a lot of people go through a fair amount of effort not to wear glasses; they wear contacts and things like that." So, they discarded glasses and made it an asymmetrical thing, very non-glasses like. He basically sidestepped a question about whether they've worked or are working with makers like Bausch & Lomb on products.
After fielding a few annoying questions about Larry's health, he went on to say Google Glass fits well with the charter of Google Apps, "to take bold risks and push the edges of technology. ... I think we're definitely pushing the limits." It's not all perfect, though. "There've definitely been situations where I felt that we got the software wrong. When you have something buggy and crashing there," he said, gesturing to the camera above his eye, "that's a real problem."
They're currently demonstrating the glasses. We'll have some video of that for you later.