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Google glasses, due this year, turn seeing into searching

Google is prepping a pair of augmented-reality glasses, according to one report. 

By Matthew Shaer / February 23, 2012

The Google goggles are reported to resemble the Oakley Thump sunglasses. The Thump, pictured here in an image from an Oakley user's manual, includes a built-in MP3 player.

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Google is prepping a pair of augmented reality glasses, which would allow users to receive, via a data connection, real-time information on their surroundings. According to a new report in The New York Times, the glasses – or Google goggles, if you like – will hit shelves by the end of the year, and retail for somewhere between $250 and $600. (The Times describes the glasses as being priced like an unsubsidized smartphone.) 

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Unsurprisingly, Google has declined comment on the rumor, but the news does sync with a December post from Seth Weintraub, a blogger with 9 to 5 Google. The Google glasses, Weintraub wrote at the time, would "tie into Google’s location services. A user can walk around with information popping up and into display – Terminator-style – based on preferences, location and Google’s information." 

Weintraub says the goggles will resemble the Oakley Thumps, a pair of sunglasses equipped with an MP3 player. All of which, of course, sounds both immensely cool and terribly dorky. (Not to mention potentially fatal. You think people have trouble concentrating on walking and smartphone using now? Try giving them a pair of glasses with a camera and a heads-up display and a bunch of streaming imagery.)  

Of course, as Damon Brown notes in a smart piece over at PC World, Google has plenty of reasons to want to shill its own augmented-reality glasses. 

"Glasses are actually the final piece to Google’s mission: To know what a user doing every single moment of the day," Brown writes. "The search giant already is unifying some 60-odd products into one log-in for continuous online tracking. And, as we reported last week, it’s enticing you to use Google to come up with those web passwords." 

Sound a little paranoid? Wi-Fi and 3G equipped goggles would allow Google access not just to your location, but to the advertisements that catch your attention, the identity of your friends and family, the whole of the world as you see it. And that's scary stuff. 

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