Friday, September 20, 2013

Google Glass 'years away' from a European launch, voice recognition and privacy issues at fault

Despite the fact that an Explorer Edition of Google Glass has definitely reached India, Google Glass is not expected to hit European retail outlets for several years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

While the first thing that comes to mind is privacy -- there are privacy concerns in the U.S., already, and elsewhere -- it appears at least part of the problem is technological in nature.

According to the report, voice recognition is the issue.
In the U.S., some 12,000 “explorers” are currently allowed to see the world through Glass. No such program exists, or is currently planned, for Europe -- partly because the device’s American-English voice-recognition software has trouble with foreign accents.
Apple fanboys might take that quote to the bank. In effect, Google is saying that its voice recognition technology is not as good as Apple's, which has rolled out Siri -- which uses voice recognition, naturally -- globally.

There are those privacy concerns to worry about, too. European news site EurActiv said -- repeating the "years away" timetable for Europe, though not directly quoting Google:
... the device remains several years from market launch amidst ongoing privacy concerns.
Google is expected to launch its wearable computing smartglasses into retail -- starting in the U.S. -- in 2014. For now, some 8,000 "Explorers" and 2,000 developers are using the device, which cost them $1,500 each.

It is likely the retail price will be lower; these are prototypes and are, naturally, costly.

Despite the limitations on availability, it was reported this week that an Indian surgeon used Google Glass to live-stream a pair of surgeries.  If the device is similarly limited in retail, one would assume there would be a burgeoning market for the devices on eBay and elsewhere.

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