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Google Planning to Offer 'Smart Glasses' By End Of 2012

It's a fact: People desperately want the convenience of a video game style heads up display. It would make simple tasks like finding a restaurant, or knowing how much ammunition you have remaining, so much easier. But so far all promising technologies are out of reach. Prototype contact lenses, created jointly by the University of Washington and Finland's Aalto University, were unveiled last year but the technology is years away from consumer applications. Vuzix's Monocular display devices are actually entering production, but the consumer version is still "in development". It looks like we'll have to content ourselves with boring, old timey visual interfacing - "seeing" things with our regular eyes - for a bit longer. Sigh.

But not so fast, pessimists! Google apparently has its own HUD device planned for consumer release by the end of 2012.

That news comes courtesy of anonymous Google employees, who describe the device as a pair of glasses with a built-in display that can stream data in the user's field of vision, supposedly in real time. As expected, the device, which we pray won't be called "smartglasses", will supposedly cost as much as a smartphone, appropriate as it will run Android and have 3G and 4G data. Other rumored features include a service similar to Google Maps, a built in low-res camera, a navigation system in which the user tilts his or her head to scroll and, if 9 to 5 Google's Seth Weintraub is right, an aesthetic similar to Oakley Thumps.

The Oakley Thumps look aside, all of this sounds incredibly cool. Naturally, this means we're about to tell you not to get your hopes up too much. The project is supposedly underway at Google's secretive, early-90s sounding Google X offices, and though rumors about this project have been circulating since December, when approached by the New York times, the company declined to comment. This of course rules out the possibility that the information leak is timed to generate buzz early in the year and we can rest assured that we won't hear anything further.

Image via The Geekorium.