glass

A user interface for your vision?

Computers have become more and more common. First they were on our desks, then in our bags, now in our pockets. Is the next step on our faces? 

Glass, Google’s newest product, unveiled in a video last week, hopes to do just that. The product resembles a pair of eyeglasses without lenses. While they are futuristically goofy looking at first glance, the functionality demonstrated in the video is pretty cool. Snapping photos or taking video of whatever is in your vision will be an impressive tool for social media and documentation alike.

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Glass also had to fundamentally change they way a computer’s user interface worked and looked. On all computers, tablets, and cell phones, the background was just that: a background. A pretty picture, and inspirational quote; it was a space designed to be covered up by more useful things like icons or applications running in a window.

Google couldn’t follow that template with Glass. The background is the most important part, because it’s reality. How do you design applications and interfaces for the device that don’t distract too much from reality? How much can you overlay someone’s vision before they are moving around blindly?

From the small sample of video they have released, it appears Google has tried to solve this problem by going small, minimalist, translucent and out of the way.

Google_Project_Glass_Interface

Windows, whether they’re running a video chat or showing driving directions, only appear in the top right corner of a user’s vision (no word yet of an edition for left-eyed users). The real world, chugging along in the background, is still slightly visible through the window. When not in use the project clicks off and the user has a typical, unobstructed view of the world.

It remains to be see if Glass will prove too much of a distraction on the heads of average consumers and not just Google-selected testers, and how new applications for the device will be designed as the technology grows more refined. As someone who has been bumped into one too many times by someone blindly walking along, pecking at their phone, I just hope this device and its users keep their focus on the background.

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