Project Glass Meets Reality

6 weeks ago Google introduced Project Glass with an amazing video demonstrating the product. Of course, it was a concept video and Google stated this is what it “might be” capable of doing. Many people overlooked that fact and took this to be a demonstration of the actual product, and so did more than a few publications.

Having worked on two early smartphone augmented reality apps, and having spent a significant amount of time recently working on image recognition and processing for Consmr’s barcode scanning iPhone app, I took to Quora to question the feasibility of a product like the video launching this year. In summary, I said there’s no way this product is launching this year with most of this functionality. I went feature by feature through the product and the interaction in the video and referenced why it wasn’t happening in 2012.

Today, we all found out just how close to the truth I was…  Project Glass in its current form can do little more than take and share a photograph. Engadget’s headline summed it up like this:

"Google’s Project Glass protoypes can transfer still images, do little else"

Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely an advocate of this type of technology. I’ve always said that hardware is holding back the next evolution of augmented reality… the point where it positions itself for early growth in the mainstream. If I could clone myself, this is an area where I have tons of ideas/sketches/concepts that only a Project Glass type of hardware could execute. But I’m not sure what was gained by producing a video of something that was far from the reality of the actual product. 

It reminds me of a nerd debate I had with a classmate at Brown over the video Nintendo produced in 2000 as a teaser for the Gamecube Zelda. I said there was no way the Gamecube could produce a game looking like that. 12 years and several Zelda games later, Nintendo has still not launched a Zelda game near those visuals.