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Details emerge on Google Glass interface

updated 05:54 pm EDT, Tue September 11, 2012

Voice commands bring up UI, execute actions

While the Google Glass wearable computing project is still in development, Google has begun showing off some of the interface that will drive the Glass experience. The Wall Street Journal got some hands-on time with Google's face-mounted computer, and its reporter came away with a finer understanding of the way the technology will work. While some of the voice commands that will eventually drive Google Glass' interface are functional, it appears to still be very much a work in progress.

Reportedly, the device weighs only a few ounces, with two microphones as well as a battery built into one of the frame's arms. Users activate the device's functions by speaking into one of the microphones, though it is uncertain whether one needs interact physically with the microphone or whether it is sensitive enough to automatically pick up commands.

Speaking a term such as "OK, Glass" will bring up the main user interface on the small screen situated in front of the wearer's right eye. From there, one can snap a picture, make a call, or send a text message.

The Journal's reporter ultimately came away disappointed in the device, as it is still very much in the development stage and many of its most basic functions don't work yet. Text messaging and phone call functions are still in the prototype stage, as is a navigation feature that will show users maps along their trip.

Google has previously allowed members of the press to try out the device. In May, Gavin Newsom got to test out a prototype device on his self-titled program. The device Newsom tested, though, was likely less developed than the one tested by the Journal most recently, as Newsom relied on the touch interface to interact with the technology.

Google first teased the device in a promotional video earlier this year, capturing the attention of much of the tech sector. Later, at Google I/O, Google co-founder Sergey Brin came on stage wearing the device, and the company demoed prototypes of the device in an extreme sports-heavy presentation. Most recently, the technology showed up at New York Fashion Week, where an assortment of models donned the device as they walked the runway, snapping pictures as they did.

While developer units will be available at the end of this year or early next year for Google I/O attendants who preordered them, the technology isn't expected to debut on the wider consumer market until 2014. When Google Glass does debut, it will be priced as a premium product, at least initially.




by MacNN Staff

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