Google's Sergey Brin rips smartphones, shows off Glass

Brin calls smartphones 'emasculating' as company looks for thousands of 'explorers' to test the digitized eyewear

Sergey Brin, Google co-founder and head of the company's Glass project, said the computerized eyeglasses are more masculine than smartphones.

Sergey Brin and Google glass
Google co-founder Sergey Brin dons the company's Glass digital eyewear. (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters )

Brin wore the Glass device as he spoke at a TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., on Wednesday. He made it clear that his vision for the future of search is that people won't have to make queries or disconnect from personal interactions to get the information they need.

"When we started Google 15 years ago, my vision was that information would come to you as you need it," said Brin, according to a TED blog. "You wouldn't have to search query at all... But for now, we get information by disconnecting from other people, looking down into our smartphone."

Brin isn't comfortable with staring down into a smartphone screen.

"Is this the way you're meant to interact with other people?" he asked conference attendees. "Is the future of connection just people walking around hunched up, looking down, rubbing a featureless piece of glass? It's kind of emasculating. Is this what you're meant to do with your body?"

Brin talked about Glass and the future of digital connectivity on the same day that Google closed the application period for testing the wearable computers. The company on Feb. 20 announced it was looking for Glass "explorers" and asked applicants to tell how they would use the computerized glasses in 50 words or less.

Google on Thursday declined to say how many people applied to be in the first test group. However, a Google spokesman said the company is looking for several thousand explorers. The spokesman did not comment on when the first explorers will be announced.

Brin, during his talk, referred to the first explorers as "a few early, bleeding-edge adopters."

Those applicants, who must be over 18 and live in the U.S., need to be ready to pay up for being an early adopter. Google said the first explorers will need to pay $1,500 plus tax for the glasses, along with travel expenses to attend a special "pick-up experience" in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

When Google called for explorer applications, the company also released a video showing people using the glasses while skydiving, dancing, playing with their children and riding a roller coaster.

The video also shows off the Glass interface, which is a translucent pane on the right eye glass that shows options for taking photos, shooting videos, getting directions, sharing, search and showing maps with graphic overlays.

The glasses, which Google noted are now called Glass instead of Google Glass, also are designed to enable users to activate all these options with voice control.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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