It's still a pretty secretive project considering it involves 2,000 third parties, but I did manage to learn a few interesting lessons about Project Glass at Google I/O.
Although many key details are still secret, here are a few things I learned at Google I/O about Glass:
It’s no GoPro. Developers should think of it as a 640 x 360 pixel display. Users see it as if it were projected about seven feet ahead of and slightly above them.
One user notes it will not display Web pages because they would be unreadable. Instead expect a sort of info-scrape—a few big white words on a black background.
“We designed the experience around micro interactions…to get the technology out of the way” said one developer…and because that’s about what it can handle, I suspect.
All day battery life is doable, says one “explorer,” but developers put denser batteries on the top of their hardware wish list.
It is based on Android 4.0.1 (Ice Cream Sandwich), uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and sports a micro USB port.
There will be no Glass simulator for Android phones. The only way to access the hardware and API is by ponying up $1,500 and signing the NDAs to be in the Explorer program.
Google updated the hardware monthly at first, but now it seems pretty frozen. Software updates are still rolling out every 30 days.
Privacy issues have heavily influenced the design. (Note subsequent reports on a Congressional letter to Google on this issue.)
Example #1. Facial recognition is not in the current product plan. “We prototyped it early on…and I’m not scared of it, but I want to make sure there’s clear user benefit and we honestly deal with privacy,” said one developer.
Example #2: Glass wearers give “clear social cues” when taking a pix or video. They touch a button on the device or say “OK Glass, take a picture” and the display lights up in a way others can see. Oh, and you have to be looking directly at your subject, of course.
Example #3. Google is seeking user scenarios where Glass benefits someone near the wearer by giving them useful information—and allaying their paranoia about starring in the next YouTube spoof.