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9 to 5 Google says the glasses resemble Oakley Thumps.

We’ve known for a while that Google would be getting into the device business through its acquisition of Motorola Mobility. However, two items this week make it seem that the search giant’s ambitions in the hardware market go beyond what we’ve previously known, in potentially significant ways.

Overnight came the news that Google may be contemplating its own 7-inch Android tablet, to compete head-to-head with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and, possibly, a smaller iPad from Apple.

But the bigger attention-grabber was the New York Times story confirming past reports by 9 to 5 Google that Google is working on its own Android-based augmented reality glasses.

The NYT story by Nick Wingfield, based on information from anonymous Google employees, said the glasses would include a motion sensor and GPS, and deliver real-time information to the user through a small screen a few inches from the eye.

From the NYT report:

The glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby, according to the Google employees. The glasses are not designed to be worn constantly — although Google expects some of the nerdiest users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed.

This report was interesting to me not so much for the technology (these concepts have been around for a while) but for the fact that Google could be poised to make it mainstream. It’s also an example of how the services and data we access today in smartphones will increasingly be accessible in other types of devices, and embedded in the world around us.

Maybe Google and Valve should connect on this stuff?

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