The reaction from the technology community to Google's Project Glass augmented reality glasses video earlier this week ranged from the amazed to the overtly cynical. But one group of naysayers in particular—those who thought the glasses were merely the product of a fancy concept video—appear to be wrong. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was recently seen at an event wearing Project Glass, and there's photographic proof.
Blogger Robert Scoble caught Brin wearing the glasses at an event for The Foundation Fighting Blindness (see photo at left). Posting to his Google+ page, Scoble said, "[Brin] quickly told me it is a prototype. I saw a bluish light flashing off of his right eyeball. I could only guess that my Google+ profile flashed up, or maybe some PR voice said 'stay quiet' or something like that. But the glasses are real. Very light looking. Most of the people around us had no idea that these glasses are pretty special."
This will undoubtedly come as a surprise to many people in the tech and blogging community who assumed the video was as fictional as Microsoft's slick Productivity Future Vision video. Well-known, Apple-focused blogger John Gruber wrote, "Google's transition into the new Microsoft is now complete: fancy-pants sci-fi concept video to promote stunningly awkward augmented reality glasses."
Blogger Joe Stracci responded to the video by writing, "…this isn't a product that is in beta testing, alpha testing, or even a concept model phase. It's just a somewhat cool video." Gruber picked up on Stracci's blog post and added, "Let's pretend Google could actually build and ship something exactly like what they show in their concept video. Think about the data Google is collecting about the video's protagonist."
However, when you're talking about a company that actually has working self-driving cars traveling around California, second-guessing that company's ability to deliver on futuristic products isn't advisable.
Other responses to the Project Glass video were more visual, including one video by Jonathan McIntosh called "Admented Reality" in which the original Project Glass video is shown with clever Google Adwords style advertisements layered over various parts of the video to match the wearer's experience. Another, more humorous take, came from London-based Tom Scott who created an original video mimicking Google's called "Google Glasses: A New Way to Hurt Yourself," in which the glasses are shown as possibly too impractical to be used in everyday life.
According to Scoble, another high-profile Google executive, Vic Gundotra, is also walking around testing out his own pair of the glasses. Google hasn't revealed a release date or price for the augmented reality glasses, but we now have good reason to believe that Project Glass is a real product that will be available long before Star Trek transporters and Jetsons anti-gravity shoes.