Google will use a stand at its I/O conference in San Francisco to expose its Glass wearable computer to more scrutiny than ever before.
The search giant is refocusing its annual conference on software developers, and has said it does not plan any major hardware announcements.
It will, however, put its Google Glass hardware on display for the first time, and is expecting long queues as the thousands of attendees try to get their first hands-on experience with the much-hyped product.
Glass has so far been limited to a small number of ‘Explorers’ who have been allowed to buy units at $1,500 and have been encouraged to write ‘Glassware,’ software for the device.
A Twitter app and a programme to take pictures via a pronounced wink have already been developed.
Glass features a small screen placed above the right eye and is voice activated. It can find directions, search the web and relay emails and messages.
Privacy campaigners have voiced concerns that its tiny camera raises the possibility of subversive recordings.
Android’s new boss, Sundar Pichai, told Wired magazine that Google I/O this year, is “going to be different. It’s not a time when we have much in the way of launches of new products or a new operating system. Both on Android and Chrome, we’re going to focus this I/O on all of the kinds of things we’re doing for developers, so that they can write better things.”
The addition of a stand to show off Glass, however, is a further indication that Google is edging closer to a more commercial launch of a version of the product. Although initial encounters with the device have largely suggested that it is currently focused on early adopters, Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, has suggested that it will launch next year.
Google is also expecting “lots of developers” to be using Glass at the I/O conference as many have become used to wearing them for long periods of time. That potentially raises the prospect of the event becoming the first time the privacy implications of the technology have been tested at a large-scale, semi-public event.
Google I/O is also likely to see a string of new software announcements, but not a fully fledged new version of Android. It will, however, host a Google experiment to monitor air quality and noise across the conference in a bid to quantify which areas are the most popular.