• May 1, 2013
  • By Leonard Klie Editor, Speech Technology and CRM magazines
  • FYI

Overheard Underheard

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Google in late February concluded the selection process for inclusion in the Google Glass Explorer program, allowing a select group of consumers and developers to test its head-mounted wearable computer that displays information and interacts with the Internet via natural language voice commands.

By simply speaking to these glasses, users can have their words translated, conduct Web searches, send messages, get directions, take and share pictures and videos, start Google+ "hangouts," get the weather, check the status of a flight, and more. Users issue voice commands by first saying "OK glass," then the command, or they can scroll through the options using a finger along the side of the device. Google Glass sends and receives data via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections to Android or iPhone mobile devices, and uses many existing Google applications, including Google Maps, Google Translate, and Google Now.

While the frames do not currently have lenses fitted to them, Google is currently working on models that can be used with prescription and sunglass lenses. Frames are available in black, orange, gray, white, and blue.

Though head-worn displays for augmented reality are not a new concept, the Glass project has drawn a lot of attention because of its backing by Google, which recently acquired DNNresearch, a technology start-up from the computer science department at the University of Toronto. Many technophiles are speculating that DNNresearch's speech and object recognition software will likely be incorporated into Google Glass, allowing it to recognize voices, objects, and faces within its memory.

Glass is being developed by Google X Lab, which has been linked to several other futuristic technologies, including driverless cars, a space elevator, a neural network, and the Web of Things.

Google expects a consumer version of Google Glass to be available by the end of the year for "significantly less" than the $1,500 Explorer Edition.

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