Now that a lucky few developers at Google’s I/O conference have been able to get their hands on a pair of the search engine juggernaut’s AR glasses – for a hefty fee of $1,500 – we’re left to wonder exactly how much of the design work Google intends to leave to us. It’s no secret that millions of us are keen to don a pair of these super-specs ourselves, but going by their track record it also seems clear that the company is looking for input from our innovative minds in return.
How Google is different
Google’s chic, modern product designs seem to be running in a very similar direction to those of Apple, but behind all of the shiny gadgets is a very different developing ethos. An iPhone, iPad or any other iProduct leaves the factory looking perfect – both in terms of hardware and also software. Apple doesn’t particularly want its consumers tinkering around with the workings of their new purchase, and so they don’t give them much of a chance – but why would you need to when the iOS runs so smoothly?
By contrast, Google develops products with a rough ideal in mind and when they’re close to being realised they throw the design out to the public and let us play with it. The hope is that in amidst our playing the more technologically minded of us will iron out any little flaws and design an app for anything the product lacks.
Is this just plain lazy?
This might all sound like a rather nifty way of letting other people get some of the work done for you, but that’s definitely not the intention.
Compared to a lot of technologies on the market today, the concept of glasses able to display information in front of the lenses is a fairly broad thing. By releasing their products in this state, Google opens up its designs to a whole new range of functions to benefit an even bigger new range of people. With a different attitude, the prospect of glasses being just as beneficial to disabled people as those in the medical profession, as well as photographers, delivery companies, and a myriad of others would be next to impossible. With a more open mind to product development, it becomes a lot more realistic.
The purpose of dishing out this initial few pairs is to have people who could make these things happen give them a go in a controlled environment. You can bet that almost every developer who’s bought a pair will be trying to make their existing apps AR friendly, and it’s exciting to see where that’ll lead.