A number of anonymous Google employees are reporting that the company is currently developing Android-powered glasses that can provide a heads-up display to the wearer and connect over wireless data services. The glasses will purportedly work like a wearable version of the Google Goggles app, providing real time information on a user's location via GPS and motion sensors. Even more surprising, the same sources are saying these "Google glasses" could be available to the public by the end of this year.
The Google glasses have apparently been in production for quite some time at Google's secretive Project X lab, where the company designs its more outlandish projects, such as robots, space elevators, and the like. Anonymous employees have indicated that this is strictly an experimental program from Google, though it may look into future business applications depending on how successful the product is.
Aside from a few buttons on the side, the glasses are said to resemble a regular pair of eyeglasses with a design similar to the Oakley Thumps (pictured below). The glasses will feature a low-resolution camera on the front for gathering information to relay to a small screen built into one side of the lenses. The screen will not be transparent, but will be located to the side of the frame, so as not to obscure a person's view but still give an augmented reality feel. The camera will also be able to take pictures, and have a built-in flash.
Using either WiFi or a 3G/4G connections, the device will tap into Google's cloud and relay information to the user on their environment, including locations or friends nearby and objects that they look at. The glasses will also work as a smartphone, allowing users to make calls, use certain apps, and connect with friends.
Actually controlling the glasses will be a bit unique, as reading through information on the display will require a user to tilt their head to scroll and click. Sources at Google have noted that this function is actually a lot easier to use than it sounds, and will not be noticeable to others.
Unnamed employees told the New York Times that the new Google glasses are expected to be priced much like a current smartphone (in the US$250 to $600 range) and are aimed for a 2012 release date.