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Google 'smart glasses' reportedly launching this year

Just as an Internet connection has made our phones smarter and is in the process of making our TVs smarter, soon your glasses may be smarter too, thanks to a project from Google that could be a breakthrough in wearable computing.

The tech giant's secretive Google X lab is reportedly developing a pair of "smart glasses" that would connect with the Internet, or possibly rely on an Android smartphone to connect with the Web, to offer up information in a heads-up display.

The glasses, which the site 9to5Google reported would look somewhat like the Oakley Thump, would include a built-in camera that records what the wearer is looking at and then uses that feed to find relevant information about what's being observed, which is then displayed on the lenses of the headset.

The smart glasses would reportedly have motion-sensing capability and rely on 3G or 4G wireless connections, Google's Google Goggles augmented-reality software and a version of the Android operating system, as well as the company's GPS location services, the New York Times said in a report on the project.

Google Goggles uses photos, rather than text or voice, to conduct Web searches that can identify artwork, books, albums, contact information from a business card, logos, landmarks, wine bottles and even text to translate. 

The experience offered by the glasses would be "Terminator-style" and would display information "based on preferences, location and Google's information," 9to5Google reported.

"The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby," the New York Times reported. Google intends that users not wear the glasses all the time, but only as needed, the report said.

Both 9to5Google and the New York Times cited unnamed Google employees as their sources of information on the project. Google officials were unavailable for comment on the reports.

As with many Google projects, privacy is reportedly a concern with the smart glasses project.

"Internally, the Google X team has been actively discussing the privacy implications of the glasses and the company wants to ensure that people know if they are being recorded by someone wearing a pair of glasses with a built-in camera," the New York Times said.

Among the reported leaders on the project is Sergey Brin, who co-founded Google with current Chief Executive Larry Page in 1998.

So when will this wearable augmented reality become a reality? According to the New York Times, Google wants the glasses on sale by the end of the year at a price ranging from $250 to $600 -- about the same as a smartphone. 


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