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Sergey Brin wears Project Glass; Google specs spur fear, punch lines

April 06, 2012|By Amy Hubbard
  • As Project Glass inspires dire predictions, it might be wise to remember the futuristic imaginings that never came to pass.
As Project Glass inspires dire predictions, it might be wise to remember… (Los Angeles Times )

Google's Project Glass made its public debut on the face of Google co-founder Sergey Brin on Thursday night, prompting new excitement about the project, fresh predictions of future marvels -- or horrors -- and inspiration, most likely, for new parodies of the funky, futuristic headset.

In photos, Brin appears comfortable in the augmented-reality specs as he stands alongside tech guru Robert Scoble at a charity event in San Francisco. Interestingly, the event at which the futuristic eyewear made its first appearance was Dining in the Dark for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Scoble wrote about seeing Brin and the glasses on social media, saying he saw "bluish light" that flashed off of Brin's right eyeball. But Brin wasn't handing the glasses around for people to inspect.

When the specs were unveiled in a blog post and video Wednesday on Google+, it was clear Google wasn't yet done with them.  The Google X team asked for feedback and input from the public. Some of that feedback has come in the form of comedy.

Multiple parodies of the video have popped up -- imagining misfired messages and stumbles and one that shows (note: with plenty of four-letter words) what the product might be like in the hands of that smarmy guy you routinely try to avoid.

Fox News quoted one social media maven as saying the Google project set the stagefor "body implants" -- a "heads-up display" right in your brain.

But as Scoble and others were expressing anticipation and excitement, others were seeing more sinister connotations. Commenters at various websites were decidedly dystopian, mentioning George Orwell's "1984"; the gargoyles of "Snow Crash," Neal Stephenson’s 1992 book about a bizarre future America; even Web tracking and the CIA.

Remember, however, the predictions and imagined breakthroughs that never came to pass: Orwell's 1984 was nothing like the reality; it doesn't snow on the moon as it does in Georges Méliès' 1902 "A Trip to the Moon"; and, for now, we don't all dress in matching uniforms.

A humorous Wired article explores "tech that never took," such as food in a pill and nuclear-powered spaceships  But the 2010 list does include self-driving cars -- another Google X project. As The Times reported in March, Google's self-driving car took a legally blind man to Taco Bell and a dry cleaner.

Never say never.

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Join Amy Hubbard on Google+.

Sergey Brin wears Project Glass; Google specs spur fear, punchlines

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