Google Glass "years away" from European launch

  • AFP
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 21, 2013 14:28 IST

Turns out that the smart headset isn't that smart after all: it has problems understanding different accents.

Google has just discovered what luxury carmakers have known for years, that in some countries, even within the confines of a single territory, the number of distinctly different accents and dialects can run into three figures.

It’s the reason why even in a top of the range Mercedes S Class or a Rolls Royce Phantom, the car’s on-board telematics and infotainment systems can struggle to respond correctly to even the most simple and direct voice command.

It’s also the reason why that most heavily of hyped wearable technology devices, Google Glass may not be officially travelling beyond North American shores for some time. With no touch screen or keyboard interface, the face-worn gadget is totally at the mercy of the owner’s voice when it comes to doing even the simplest of things, from taking a photo to performing a web search or providing directions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this problem means that Google Glass is “years away from hitting the European market.”

And even though it is not yet officially available in the US, 8000 handpicked guinea pigs are currently testing ‘explorer editions’ of the gadget (plus a further 2000 developers -- i.e., people who write apps) and while the initial reaction was one of excitement, for many in the program the feeling appears to be turning to one of disappointment. Over the past week a number of explorers have been taking to social media to complain that their glasses have started to break after less than six months’ use.

Google has yet to respond to questions about the device's ruggedness, nor has it set a date for when a consumer version of the headset will be rolling out in the US where accents don't appear to be an issue. In recent interviews, Larry Page has only said that Google Glass is at least a year away from hitting the retail shelves.


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