Google Designs Augmented Reality Goggles

Last week Google announced their image of the future: Project Glass. This announcement shows us a lot about the current position of the company.

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The project was announced in Google style, by placing a short post and video on Google+: “A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input.”

Taking steps

It’s interesting to see that a technology driven company like Google is capable of moving augmented reality goggles beyond ugly machines on your nose. They’ve managed to create appealing devices that look a like jewelry. The New York Times states that “Project Glass could hypothetically become Project Contact Lens. Mr. Parviz, who is also an associate professor at the University of Washington [...] recently built a tiny contact lens that has embedded electronics and can display pixels to a person’s eye.”


The video shows how the device is integrated into the tools Google offers us, ranging from Gmail to Google Chat and Google+. Of course this is a logical step, but it’s also the opportunity for Google to once again become a game changer. This time it’s not a battle with Yahoo! and Altavista, but a direct assault on Apple. Google started with their own phone and OS, and are now moving further into the hardware world. They’ve understood that the battle isn’t fought and won over just a lot of software users, but about the importance of delivering a high quality service on all touchpoints.

Google is open, Apple not

And Google has one other benefit: they are open. In contrast to Apple they are launching a lot of products and services and are constantly testing them. They are very open to the community and want to get their thoughts and insights. See how they use their own products to get in touch with us. And it’s not a corporate voice, but it’s the actual people in the design teams that are interested in connecting with us. Google wants to start a conversation, where Apple has taken the position of a messiah. And that for me is the most interesting thing to observe when I see Project Glass getting announced.

Jeroen van Geel

Jeroen van Geel is founder/chief kahuna of Johnny Holland and the interaction director at Fabrique [brands, design & interaction], a Dutch multidisciplinary design agency. You can follow him on Twitter via @jeroenvangeel.

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