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Google Glass for everybody a 'year-ish' away

Speaking to the BBC, Google's Eric Schmidt said that Glass for consumers is not imminent and that the wearable device will require new social etiquette.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.
Dan Farber

Google Glass is the latest hot technology getting daily buzz, but it won't be coming to stores soon and it won't be cheap. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt addressed the question of when consumers might be able to purchase the digital eyewear during an interview with the BBC: "It's fair to say that thousands of these will be in use by developers over the next months, and then based on their feedback we will make some product changes, and it's probably a year-ish away."

During Google's first-quarter earnings call last week, CEO Larry Page rather cryptically addressed Google Glass' $1,500 price tag: "The price tag was set for developers for early test. We don't have news to announce there. I'm not sure I would call it a luxury price, but it's a pretty high price."

Google Glass captures 5-megapixel images and video at a 720p resolution, and includes 16GB of Flash storage synced with Google cloud storage, of which 12GB is usable. The headset has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, but uses the slower 802.11b/g standards. A MyGlass companion app enables GPS and SMS messaging but works only with Android 4.0.3 or higher.

Schmidt also discussed concerns about how Google Glass and other body-wear devices impact social norms and privacy.

"The fact of the matter is we'll have to develop some new social etiquette. It's obviously not appropriate to wear these glasses in situations where recording is not correct, and indeed you have this problem already with phones," Schmidt said. "Companies like Google have a very important responsibility to keep your information safe. You have responsibility as well to understand what you are doing and how you are doing it and obey appropriately and also keep everything up to date."

Last month a bar in Seattle announced that it banned Google Glass. Following that story, a Google spokesperson said, "It is still very early days for Glass, and we expect that as with other new technologies, such as cell phones, behaviors and social norms will develop over time."

In other words, give the market time to sort it out, not regulators. Nonetheless, it's clear that Google Glass could be just as irritating as people talking loudly on their cell phones in public places, but far more complicated regarding issues such as invasion of privacy.