Google Glass makes TIME magazine’s best inventions of 2012 (but not mine)


For those that missed it, TIME magazine recently unveiled their picks for the best inventions of 2012. The list was filled with the usual assortment of techfoolery, ranging from makerbots, to home HIV tests, to even the Mars Curiosity Rover. Pretty big stuff, I know.

Google Glass

One such invention hitting the higher $600 – $3,000 tier was Google’s very own Google Glass. While I understand that not everything that made the list is actually “consumer” ready technology, I found it interesting that aside from a few Googlers and a fancy concept video — no one outside of Google has really even used Google Glass (well, aside from Gavin Newsom and Diane von Furstenberg). There have been a few pictures posted from the device on Google+, but a head-mounted camera unit is far from “invention of the year” material, and really, only a small portion of what Google Glass is supposed to bring.

All About Augmented Reality

Remember, it’s Google Glass’ ability to shape our world through the use of augmented reality that’s the real draw. Maps, contacts, games, emails — all of that information superimposed in the real world around you via a voice-controlled HUD. This is the stuff that Android dreams are made of. This is what Google Glass truly is. Let’s just hope Google (and the rest of us) don’t lose sight of that.

Glass Falls Short

Before you get the wrong idea, I’m not hating on Glass. I honestly believe it will be another truly wonderful innovation from Google and one that could change the way we interact with the world. And that sorta stuff doesn’t happen all the time. Still, as of right now, from what we’ve seen of Google Glass — it’s nothing more than a chastity camera strapped to your head. Hardly “best invention” material. Not yet anyway. My pick for best Google invention of 2012? The self-driving Google car. By a long shot.

The Promise of More

Google Glass should be ready for primetime in 2014, and we at Phandroid are more than excited to get our hands on it. So excited, that we actually signed up for 3 pairs of the $1,500 Google Glass at Google I/O developers conference earlier this year (the one where Sergery Brinn demoed Glass by jumping out of an airplane). Personally, I have reasonably high hopes for the platform, and it’s something I absolutely can’t wait to get my eyes on. I just want to see the damn interface already.


Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I totally agree, but once they work out the kinks it will be able to live up to its name as the best invention of the year

    1. Yeah, let me see that HUD and some augmented reality, then Google Glass will have my vote for 2013. :p

      1. I remember drooling from the Battlefield Google Glass parody. If that even gets done so much free time will be gone.

        1. Sweet geebus. One day, man… One day.

  2. How dare you, Chris! lol

      1. Don’t apologize for speaking the truth. If Tim from D-L doesn’t like it, oh well……

          1. He clearly doesn’t see that we are BFF’s and I’m just trolling. Anyways, if I may, I can’t wait for Google Glass to evolve into something more useful for everyday use. I’m definitely looking forward to it. :)

  3. Thank you Chris, for speaking the truth! I’ve been saying this for a while, it’s just a wearable WIFI camera…. not that Innovating. But when the augmented HUD part of the device starts working, then i’ll be throwing my money towards Mountain View.

  4. I thought they were bring released in 2013?

    1. They never gave a definitive release date. But developers who pre-ordered are supposed to have early prototypes sometime next year.

  5. I’m wondering if I can use them to view word/pdf documents. I could use that for work being able to have a document already pulled up and able to see it from my glasses. Not really able to pull out my phone in court to look at stuff…

  6. I’m betting the patents and tech making Glass possible will usher in a potent new paradigm, the same way the iPhone did a long time ago. And there’s no obvious 90° right angles so Apple can’t touch it.

    1. Apple is working on the exact same concept… yeah, patent wars forever.

      Here is their patent:

  7. There was an episode of TWIT where Robert Scoble talked about actually being able to use the interface of Google Glass. He said it’s everything we’re hoping for, but the way he described made it seem more like it would be a tablet screen up and to the side of your eye, rather than a HUD. I know this totally sounds like I’m just saying this to try and be cool, but look it up, it was “TWIT Episode 377: When did I like a Goat?”

  8. I’ll probably get the Samsung pair.

  9. A chastity camera? I see what you did there…. but HOW DARE YOU! :-)

  10. Damn it JUST GIVE US A RELEASE DATE N PRICE for us consumers. Now im thinking i should apply a job @ phandroid so i can get my glasses early.

  11. Here I thought Phandroid staff encouraged open conversation, but they moderated 3 of my comments from this article, because it was convenient for them. Makes me wanna stop coming here….

    1. Open conversation is fine but arguing is not. That’s all. Keep chatting just keep it friendly. <3

  12. I’m right there with you Chris. Unless I’ve completely missed something, they really haven’t even shown us what it really is like to wear the glasses. Its hard for me to imagine what it will be like, so I can’t understand how they can picture it unless they know something we dont know.

  13. I think this is a great product if cost can be below $200. Otherwise it’s just a cool invention that most of us wouldn’t be able to afford to use…

    Okay I take it back, I guess we spend more on phones so probably we can afford buying this thing at a slight premium.

    Oh well! Time will tell whether this thing will take-off to the point they have sold so much that they can afford to cut the price to manageable levels.

    1. The price will NOT launch at $1,500. That was just Google’s way of weeding out developers that wanted to truly work on it. I think it will be made available for the $200 range.

  14. You’re right about the fact that Google Glass is not meant to be just a head-mounted camera, but it’s precisely the virtual reality thing that makes Time magazine’s best inventions 2012: “Glass is, simply put, a computer built into the frame of a pair of glasses, and it’s the device that will make augmented reality part of our daily lives.”
    So it looks like you’re not aware of agreeing with them. ;)
    Besides, if we don’t really know how advanced the project is by now, we know that it’s already equipped with a tiny screen that displays a UI, and this alone makes of Google Glass more than a simple head-mounted camera.
    Sounds like, to you, the Google Glass is half empty. To me it’s half full. :)

    1. Well, it made TIME’s best of 2012 list because it was a “computer built into glasses” but right now it’s not. It’s just a camera.

      And I’m not saying it’s half empty. Just acknowledging that it’s not “there” yet. Sure it could be befind closed doors, but this isn’t anything anyone has actually seen.

      My point is that it’s too early for best of 2012. If they can show off some of the augmented reality features (and it’s good), it’ll have my vote for best inventions of 2013.

      1. What I call “seeing the glass as half empty” is the fact that you say it’s just a camera.
        The “damn interface” you crave to see IS there, and saying that the device is only a camera just because that UI is not as advanced as we wished it was, sounds – if not wrong – a little pessimistic. :)
        You might be interested in this:

        No, Glass isn’t ready yet, but neither is the self-driving car which I never saw operating without an engineer and a laptop plugged into its dashboard… that didn’t prevent you from giving it your vote for 2012.

  15. Give it time. I believe the HUD can be effective, especially when DIY circumstances like auto repair or surgery is performed.

  16. I will refuse to get excited for these things until I can see a had of some sort, and more functions than just taking a pic.

    1. Sounds sad…

  17. I think the impact these glasses could have are world changing for good and bad. Everything you do or see being recorded. People with terrible work conditions or bosses, all the lies you could catch people in, police misbehaving, POV for war footage, students recording teachers/bullies, arguements with my wife and i can prove her “no, you didnt say that!” and millions of other things.Then you have all the proof you ever need continuously being uploaded to youtube so if someone breaks your glasses you have that on record too.

    These glasses will be in courts for years.

  18. many user comments here remind me of the excitement many teenage girls and some women feel when they first meet a guy and think he’s so awesome. before they discover that, like so many of us guys. he’s not really what he seems. from a practical stand point I don’t see these working. aside from the fact that the government will probably ban these when they start causing car accidents from stupid people using these as they drive ( people already text while they drive ) and aside from the fact that these things will cause a lot more people to start walking into poles. or that they may strain peoples eye sight from constantly looking at only one eye panel. all those things aside… I don’t see the software interface working in real world use. even if these things were made by apple and their vastly superior software developers. for cyber computing to work as an over lay interface in our real world. the screen would have to be thinner then contact lenses and implanted directly into our eye balls. then have extremely thin wires connected to our brain itself. so as to control the interface. to me these things will never be more then over glorified Vuzix glasses. if you don’t know what those are look them up. even buy pair. try them out. they should give you an idea of how functional google glasses will. but who knows. maybe I’m wrong? maybe a lot of people will move to new york city and learn how to play the ukulele to impress their girl friends. at the very least you can use google glass to help you navigate those pesky bookstores. because we all know how scary it can be to get lost in one of them and not be able to find your way

  19. I think it looks idiotic wearing this thing… like some pubescent X-men fan or something… Agreed, the self driving car is fantastic.

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