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Despite Schmidt's timeline, Google may ship Glass in 2013

Google Glass on track to be officially released by end of this year, say sources

May 21, 2013 06:00 AM ET

Computerworld - Just a month after a top Google executive said Glass wouldn't be officially released for another year, sources say the computerized eyeglasses actually should ship by the end of this year.

One source inside Google and another close to Google said the company expects to ship Glass before the end of 2013.

That comes as a marked difference to the statement that Eric Schmidt, Google's former CEO and current executive chairman, said just last month about the release of Glass. Schmidt said Glass is still about a year away from being ready to officially ship.

"We've just started distributing it to the first developers," Schmidt told a BBC reporter. "It's fair to say there will be thousands in use over the months and there will be changes made based on feedback. But it's fair to say it's a year-ish away."

Google did not respond to a request for official comment.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said he's not surprised that there's some discrepancy in the word coming out of Google about the release of Glass.

Schmidt, said Kerravala, simply is playing it safe and giving the company some room to move.

"Schmidt is likely giving a worst-case scenario," he added. "If he says it will come out this year and they don't, then people will say they were late on product. If he says it'll be next year and they hit this year, then Google looks better."

Kerravala noted that Google engineers and product people get excited and want to talk up ship dates, whereas Schmidt is dealing with Wall Street analysts and major customers, making him more cautious about his statements.

"Schmidt is probably managing expectations," he added.

The Glass computerized eyeglasses are designed with a translucent screen that sits slightly above the user's right eye. The screen can display information like the weather forecast, Gmail messages, directions, news alerts and search results. The user also can send emails or text, and also can post comments, photos and video to social networks.

The device can be manipulated by touch, gesture or voice control.

A few thousand developers and very early adopters are currently testing the technology. Google is looking to get Glass into the hands of about another 8,000 more early adopters, known as explorers, in the next few months.

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

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