Google launches Project Glass - connected glasses with heads-up display

A few weeks ago, we reported on an intriguing new device in development at Google – a pair of glasses, with their own data connection, camera, GPS and motion sensors, along with an integrated heads-up display, allowing users to navigate, browse and interact with the device, hands-free. Our report was based on disclosures made by Google insiders to The New York Times, who claimed that the glasses would be powered by Android, closely integrated with Google services such as Latitude, Goggles and Maps, and that they apparently bore a close resemblance to Oakley Thumps:

That was then...

Google was, at the time, claimed to be very serious about putting the glasses on sale, and today the project has taken a big step towards that reality with the company’s official announcement of 'Project Glass'. Google marked the occasion by releasing a video, previewing the broad strokes of the concept and how it might work in practice:

It’s a fascinating vision of how our increasingly connected lives might take on a more natural flow, one that doesn’t require us to keep pulling our smartphones from our pockets to stay up to date with social media, where obstacles such as travel disruptions are swiftly overcome without laborious searches through multiple apps, and where all of the information that we come across each day can be logically organised and easily digested to quickly maximise its usefulness to us.

Of course, this being a concept video, real world practicalities have taken a bit of a back seat, but as a statement of intent, it’s hard not to be intrigued by the possibilities that the concept presents. If Wired is to be believed, though, Google has already ironed out many of the real world issues that have arisen during the company’s extensive testing of its prototypes.

One of the biggest concerns behind the project will surely be that of privacy, though – principally due to the built-in camera that the glasses use to ‘see’ and gather data from the world around them. As we reported in February, Google is said to be ‘very sensitive’ to these privacy issues, but for now, any questions surrounding those concerns remain unanswered.

Don't expect the glasses to go on sale any time soon though. Contrary to earlier reports which suggested that Google plans to launch the glasses commercially this year, with a target price below $600 USD, it seems that the company still has a great deal more work to do before they're ready for prime time.

Although the glasses don’t actually make an appearance in the video – beyond the first-person view of their heads-up display – the company did share a few images of prototype devices on Google+, and they clearly look nothing at all like the much chunkier Oakleys at the top of this article:

...and this is now - a more high-tech look for connected specs.

Geek chic? We'll let you be the judge of that. Would you prefer them to look more like 'conventional' glasses, or do you favour the more obviously high-tech look seen in Google's new preview shots? Would you buy them at all, or does the whole idea of glasses that can 'see' and track everything that you see make you uncomfortable? As always, we want to know what you think, so be sure to share your opinions below.

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