Google may be working on computerized eyeglasses

The eyewear could include Android phone, camera, storage and heads-up display

Google is known for search, the Android platform, its Chrome browser and a social network.

But eyewear? According to a report Tuesday from the website 9to5Google, Google is close to coming out with eyeglasses, or goggles, equipped with processing power, storage and Android phone functionality. The glasses also include a front-facing camera, microphone and speakers.

Google's glasses are also reported to have on one lens a heads-up display, which is designed to overlay information on a transparent surface. Just as jet pilots are able to see elevation and direction information on their cockpit windshields, the glasses are said to be able to flash information, such as the temperature, who's calling in and incoming texts, on the lenses.

Citing an unnamed source, 9to5Google said Google has a prototype of the eyewear, which looks similar to a pair of Oakley Thump glasses.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said he's not surprised that Google might be working on computerized eyewear. He's only surprised that it took so long for any company to come out with them.

"It was only a matter of time before someone started putting more functions into glasses," said Olds. "I'm not surprised that it's Google who is doing the first high-profile work on this kind of thing. Obviously, one of their engineers has been using his company-mandated free time to tech-up traditional eyeglasses. You never know -- this may be the beginning of an entirely new category of devices."

He added that digital glasses also could be used to send the wearer's location to social networking sites or could someday identify people walking toward them.

According to 9to5Google, the glasses could be released in a beta trial program.

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.

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