Google is releasing The Next Big Thing, called "Glass."
The idea of wearable computers has been around for a while, but no one has really fielded a worthwhile model. (Oh, I know that Apple tried it, but this is completely different.)
IF this works (and eventually, someone will get it right), this will be a bigger deal than broadband was to the Internet.
Google is thus far kind of hit or miss on some new apps, and their branded hardware has never set a benchmark, to my knowledge. But this is a new device that hasn't really been fielded before, and their marketing strategy is pretty smart.
See, you have to apply to get the right to pay $1500 for one, right now. That will of course change, later, but right now, your price of admission is a grand and a half, and an application that includes an essay, and perhaps a video.
Why? Because genius, that's why.
They're beta testing. You want your beta testers to be invested in the product, or they'll put it down without input.They must have some confidence in it, to be trying this. But maybe some design guy sold it to marketing with:
"Hey, we can't fail! We get to claim that we're beta-testing, not generally releasing the product, and each enduser is paying us to do the research. Worst case scenario is that it's back to the drawing board. Best case: we send a service pack module upgrade, and proceed with production as is."
The weak point isn't going to be the shaky video; it's going to be in the speech recognition. It needs to NOT fire off some app, just because you left it on while walking through a noisy crowd, or while watching a movie.To quote my friend Ed: "You know it's only a matter of time before people start using Google Glass to make their own pornos."
He's probably right, but there have been wearable cameras for a long time. I think that it's the integration that will be the big deal. Google is pretty good at taking existing technology, and integrating it. Look at the excellent job that they did with Google Maps integrating with their search engine, with their one-of-a-kind StreetView, and their superb Earth. (You haven't downloaded Google Earth to your machine? I don't even know you, anymore.)
Some worry that it moves us a little further down the slippery slope of not having to interact with human beings around us. I submit that it will pull our heads up. Right now, when I want to interact with the Internet, I sit down and face a computer screen, in a corner. I am effectively sequestering myself from the world. Something like this could permit the easy give and take of data, while out and about.
In a year, we'll know if this one took or not. Given the proliferation of 4G smart phones out there (with which it will pair), I reckon that it's got a fighting chance. Eventually, someone will get us there.