Google Glass is coming. The technology giant confirmed Wednesday that it expects to ship the radical new interactive headgear within a month, and a new group of venture capitalists has formed to back the development of Glass-specific apps.
The first batch of Glasses is priced at a hefty $1,500 each. The company is likely trying to ship the units before its annual I/O conference for developers, which takes place May 15-17. There is some speculation that Google will release the Google Mirror API during the conference. The most optimistic expectation for a public release date is late this year.
These first purchased units will be sent to those developers who signed up at last year's I/O conference for Google's Explorer edition. Google also selected 8,000 winners of a contest it held via Twitter and Google+, in which contestants sent ideas about what they would do with the glasses if they had an opportunity to make a purchase.
The glasses feature a processor, small camera, wireless connectivity and, over one of the user's eyes, a small display screen. It could offer an entirely new platform for displaying information over a user's vision of the real world, as well as provide a mobile Internet/video transmitting/receiving unit.
As with any new device these days, its value is directly proportional to the number and quality of apps available for it. Glass could present a juicy opportunity for apps that simply cannot be realized for any other device.
On Wednesday, Google Ventures announced it was working in partnership with venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in an effort dubbed the Glass Collective. The Collective, a somewhat ironic name for a capitalist venture, will offer seed money for start-ups and projects to develop Glass apps.
The Collective will not set up a new venture fund. Each company will make its own investments, if any, but all the firms will get a look at any possible deals. Evernote, Path and the New York Times have already developed some Glass apps, which Google has demonstrated.
Marrying Digital with Physical
Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, noted that "we're going to see the idea of wearables in general grow over the next few years." He said Glass apps would not "be an entirely new class of apps," since there are already augmented reality apps for smartphones, although a headset could be a "more natural platform."
Google Glass, he added, "could marry a digital world with a physical one better than anything that's come before."
In a posting on his company's blog, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder and general partner Andreessen Horowitz described Glass as "profoundly transformational," because it integrated "connectivity and information directly into your field of vision and into your normal daily life."
Andreessen told Forbes magazine about two possible applications. One involved apps designed for surgeons and paramedics to convey and receive hands-free info as they worked, and another was an augmented reality game in which certain people on the street, as you walk by them, are designated as "zombies." He didn't specify what anti-zombie actions the wearer might take.
He concluded his post with a starting gun: "Ladies and gentlemen, start your compilers."
Posted: 2013-04-12 @ 3:29am PT
Oi vey...do they all take EST training now? The term *transformational* has gone *viral*. Journalism worsens!