A friend of Betabeat’s recently tried on Project Glass, Google’s hotly anticipated alternate reality glasses product, but was dismayed to find that because he had to take of his glasses in order to use the prototype, it was difficult to see when actually using it.
In this month’s MIT Technology Review, journalist Farhad Manjoo got a chance to talk with a technology lead for Google’s Project Glass, Thad Starner. An associate professor at the Georgia Institute for Technology, Mr. Starner has been experimenting with wearable technologies since the mid-90s, and was tapped by Google to advise them on issues surrounding Project Glass, the company’s attempt to commercialize computerized glasses.
Ever the skeptical journalist, Mr. Manjoo went into the meeting expecting to find the glasses polarizing and detrimental to social interaction. Also: dorky and vaguely creepy. Instead, Mr. Starner successfully convinced him that Google’s glasses will actually amplify social interaction, stripping it of those awkward phone-checking asides and lulls in conversation when we go to respond to a text. In short, Google glasses could be a socially awkward person’s best friend. Sign us up!
The Future Will See You Now
It’s well-known that all Googlers are brainiacs, but the Google X team represents the cream of the crop: some of the most elite programmers and thinkers in the company are handpicked for Google X, which is tasked with some of the most innovative projects Google outputs. The most recent manifestation of Google X’s collective brilliance? Project Glass, Google’s attempt at augmented reality glasses.
If you’ve never heard of Google X, a secret lair hidden away in some undisclosed Bay Area location, you’re in good company. Many Google employees haven’t either.
The future-facing lab makes Google’s 80/20 model for fostering innovation sound like child’s play. Rather than devoting part of the week to somewhat far-fetched ideas, the New York Times reports, Google X is “tackling a list of 100 shoot-for-the-stars ideas.”
That “stars” part is somewhat literal. One of the projects its developing is a space elevator, “a longtime fantasy of Google’s founders and other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs” that images space travel along a cable tied to Earth.