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Google is really trying to make this Glass thing happen. In case you haven’t heard about it, Google has been working on “augmented reality” glasses they call The Glass Project. A promotional video of everything the Glass Project could possibly do (but may not do right now) has been released, but it seems as though as of right now, it’s a camera stuck on wire glasses. CEO Sergei Brin has been wearing them all over the place, but now they’ve converted fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg. Not only has she been wearing the glasses, she sent models down the runway of her spring 2013 ready-to-wear show wearing them.
It wasn’t for style (that should be obvious – have you seen the glasses?). Diane von Furstenberg partnered with Google to create a behind-the-scenes documentary about creating the line. The models’ glasses were used to record footage from their perspective of walking the runway. The designer and her creative director, Yvan Mispelaere, have been filming their creative process for the past week. They both wore the glasses for their bow at the end of the fashion show. Brin was in the front row at the show wearing his glasses and he was pulled up on the catwalk to bow with von Furstenberg and Mispelaere. The documentary made from the Glass footage is supposed to debut online sometime this week.
Could putting the glasses in the runway show influence major tastemakers? The Huffington Post reports that actress/fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker tried on a pair of the Google glasses after the show.
So how about the glasses’ style? They appear to be lens-less, so they have a metal band (looks kind of like a hairband) that sits from ear to ear, kept in place with little wire nosepieces, and there’s a camera attached at the right temple. Based on images from the DVF show, it looks like the little camera comes in different colors (von Furstenberg wore a orangey-red one, Brin wore blue, some of the models had white, black, blue, and shades to match their outfits.) The Huffington Post points out that minimalist wire frames aren’t in style right now; chunky plastic frames are much more en vogue. Actually, HuffPost’s Ellie Krupnik sums them up perfectly when she wrote that they look “like prescription glasses that still have the security tag left on.”
So they’re not too stylish, but they must be functional, right? Google hasn’t been too forthcoming with details on the glasses except that they “have potential beyond video capture.” They’re still in development, but you can order a prototype pair that will ship early next year for a whopping $1,500. So far, the only thing that we know for sure that the glasses can do is take photos and video from the camera. According to a promotional video that showed the long-term hopes and dreams for the glasses, you could one day talk to your glasses to get directions shown right in front of your eyes (whether it’s on a street or just inside a bookstore, as both were shown in the video). They could also show you your messages, help you compose one by voice commands, show you the weather forecast, and post things to your Google+ account. You could even video chat: the glasses would show you your chat partner while he or she would get to see whatever you’re facing. Since I get dizzy seeing anything shot in the first person, I refuse to video chat with anyone wearing those glasses or watch the DVF documentary. As for the other features, I have yet to see anyone get a successful answer out of Apple’s Siri in person, so I somehow doubt that a pair of glasses will tell me where the music section in a bookstore is after I give them a voice command.
Are you going to jump on The Glass bandwagon? If it catches on, it would be cool to say that you were one of the first to adopt a “wearable computer.” If it turns out to be a flop, your grandchildren could be laughing at photos of you with a small computer on your face for decades to come. We’ll have to see if they suddenly become fashionable.