Google co-founder Sergey Brin took the stage at TED on Wednesday for an unscheduled, low-key talk on Google Glass. His aim: to reveal a little bit of the thinking behind the two-year-old project, and why he thinks the eyeglass-based, always-connected screen is less intrusive than constantly checking your smartphone.
"You're standing rubbing this featureless piece of glass," Brin said. "Is this the way we were meant to use our bodies? You want something that will free your eyes."
Brin admitted he was as guilty as anyone else of repeatedly checking email and social media on his phone "as if it was something really important". It was comparable to a smoking habit, he said. "I had a nervous tic. But with Google Glass, I've really enjoyed exploring the world more."
Asked whether important email would be just as distracting when it comes in on Google Glass, Brin points out that he has to look up in order to read it - so the person he's talking to will know that's what he's doing.
Confirming that the eyewear would be available before the end of the year for $US1500 - and that we "shouldn't trust" pairs that pop up on eBay - Brin mused on how far the project had come in its lifetime. "The first prototypes were like cellphones strapped to your head," he said.
Finally, he cautioned that the device had a long way to go still - and that the success of Google Glass was far from assured, despite tremendous interest in the tech world.
"It's by no means a done deal yet," Brin said. "If it is, maybe I should retire."
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