News & Views
Google Glass sparks a trend in wearable technology

Chinese language search engine Baidu is taking some serious cues from global search leader Google, even going so far as to start developing its own version of Google Glass, the augmented reality eyewear that’s been making the tech industry go weak at the knees of late. The wearable ocular device is nicknamed ‘Baidu Eye’ internally, and features Mandarin speech recognition software, as well as image search.

Baidu is the largest search engine in China, and has wasted no time in exploring this new avenue, most likely hoping to grab a healthy share of the augmented reality market before Google gets the monopoly. Oddly though, the Baidu Eye remains at the prototype stage and it has been confirmed that there are no immediate or official plans afoot to commence manufacturing on these designs. Rather, according to Kaiser Kuo, Director of Internal Communications, they are still examining the product’s saleability: “We haven’t decided whether it is going to be released in any commercial form right now, but we experiment with every kind of technology that is related to search… We’re doing some internal testing on it now on a small scale, and evaluating where this goes from here.”

Easily the most talked about tech product of the year so far, a “fully polished” version of Google Glass is rumoured to hit the market before the end of 2013, with an estimated retail price of less than $1,500. A number of lucky technology enthusiasts have already been given the chance to get their hands on the special specs, simply by tweeting what Google Glass might have the potential to help them do in their particular field, using the hashtag #ifihadglass. If widespread reports are to be believed, the current “Explorer” edition is just the first in a planned range of Google Glass products.

Wearable technology is a natural extension of the continually developing mobile industry, with more and more people experiencing the need to stay connected to both work and play without the restrictions of a desktop, laptop or even tablet. In addition to Google and Baidu, the folks at Apple are also keen to capitalise on this emerging trend, and are currently working on a wristwatch device that will operate on their native iOS platform and will offer smartphone functionality.

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