I first heard of Google's odd and futuristic "Glass" gadget nearly a year ago, when it was announced at the company's annual I/O developer conference. I was seated in San Francisco's Moscone Center, along with thousands of other geeks, when Google Cofounder Sergey Brin unveiled Glass at the conference keynote and kicked off an intricate sequence with a crack team of skydivers and bicycle-riding stuntpeople that started in the air above downtown San Francisco, continued on to the roof of the Moscone Center and then made its way down the side of the building and on to the stage. (Check out a video of the festivities.)
The idea was to demonstrate one potential use of Glass: To show the Glass-wearers' view of thrilling events, like skydiving, scaling down buildings or BMX bicycling.
I've thought a lot about Google Glass since then and wrote about it on a few occasions. I have mostly poked fun at the awkward-looking gadget and its wearers. But the fact of the matter is that Google Glass likely marks an important milestone in the evolution of personal electronics. And even though Glass makes its wearers look foolish - except, of course, me; I make Glass look gooood - you're going to hear a lot about in the coming years.
Earlier this month, I attended Google I/O again, and this time around I actually got to spend some time with Glass. To be honest, I didn't really even understand what Google Glass was before I/O 2013; I thought it was just a weird-looking camera mounted on some glasses frames. It is. But Glass is also much more. Here are five things that anyone interested in Google Glass need to know.
Google Glass is Not Just a Wearable Camera
Glass lets you take first-person images and video clips that can be streamed to friends in real time, but it's much more than just a camera attached to some glasses. It's a tiny computer attached to the side of the frames with a small display the user can see and a camera lens positioned to capture exactly what the Glass wearer sees. Glass runs a version of Google's Android OS. And as such, it can run applications and access Google services including search. So you can ask Glass for answers to questions and quickly receive relevant information, among other things, without using your hands. (Check out this list of cool Glass apps.)
Glass is also designed to provide information before users ask for it. So, for example, directions to a nearby restaurant you researched in the past may pop up on your Glass screen when you walk within a certain distance of an eatery. (These features appear to be an extension of Android's existing Google Now functionality, which studies user behavior and provides information and answers to questions before users know that they need them.)
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.