Google Glass: An early look at Google's next-gen spectacles

Google Glass likely won't arrive until 2014. But tester units of Google's portable hardware are already making the rounds among a specially-selected crowd. 

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    An early Google Glass tester takes the new Google hardware for a spin in downtown San Francisco. Now the tech-savvy could soon be peering through a set of Samsung smart frames.
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Today at the Google I/O conference, Timothy Jordan, a Senior Developer Advocate for Google, gave a talk on developing software for Google Glass. The event attracted overflow crowds – "doors were locked as the room reached capacity and another location packed for a live stream," according to ZDNet. And no wonder. With the exception of the original iPad, we can't think of a piece of portable tech hardware that's generated this much advance hype. 

But here's a question: Is Google Glass any good? Well, this week the first hands-on tests of the high-tech specs are starting to hit the Web, and the answer appears to be a qualified yes. (An important caveat: These early impressions and reviews are based on test versions of the glasses. Google will likely change the device before it goes into wide release next year.) 

"My chief observation," writes Edward C. Baig of USA Today, "is that while Glass still has elements of the unfinished project that it is, you can't help but be impressed by what it can already do, and can't help but be seduced by its boundless possibilities. In other words, it's really cool." 

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Meanwhile, PCMag.com's Michael J. Miller says the search functionality is already impressively refined, as are some of the GPS functions. 

"Getting directions generally works pretty well," Miller writes. "I tried this a couple of times this weekend and the addresses I used were simple enough so that Google recognized them without an issue. While you are driving, the screen turns off most of the time, turning on and giving you audio directions at each step of the journey." 

Meanwhile, over at the UK Telegraph, Matt Warman says the "novel part" of Google Glass is the seamless voice control. 

"Google’s idea is that Glass will integrate all the benefits of the web into human interaction, but it will be less conspicuous, less of a barrier than a mobile phone," Warman writes. "You can ask it how to say words in a foreign language and its subtle speakers will tell you instantly. That’s useful, and it implies a future that is fundamentally more connected to the web than it is today." 

Tried out Google Glass? Drop us a line in the comments section. And for more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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