MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. (CAP) - In the wake of widespread skepticism over Google's Project Glass "augmented reality glasses," industry experts are now questioning whether other proposed Google products, such as its "X-Ray Specs" slated for release next year, will be all the developers are promising.
Pietor Menstry, an MIT Media Lab researcher, told Wired magazine that it seems very unlikely that users will really be able "look right through the flesh and see the bones underneath," despite the claims of several ads Google took out in popular comic books.
"And as far as seeing through clothes, forget it," said Menstry. "We've been trying to come up with glasses to do that for 30 years. It's a lot harder than it looks."
The X-Ray Specs are among a long list of products supposedly being developed by Google, many of which have researchers and tech pundits questioning whether the company will really be able to deliver, or whether it's talking up the products just to generate PR buzz.
Among the products allegedly in development:
> Secret Spy Scope, a "pen-sized pocket scope" for sporting events, spying, counter-spying and looking at women in bikinis.
> Miniature Secret Camera, a camera "so small it fits in a cigarette pack."
> Trick Black Soap, a bar of soap that looks like a regular bar of soap, but "victim washes face and gets blacker and blacker."
"Our research has found that there is a tremendous interest among the general public for these devices, along with other planned Google releases like a trick baseball, onion gum and monster-size monsters," said Dr. Francis Spitznagel of the Pew Research Center. But he also noted that if they don't come to pass, there could be a public outcry.
"We've also found that our researchers would be very happy to test the X-Ray Specs, especially the researchers who've been working on our project about superheroine bust size," he added.
But Google founder Larry Page told CAP News that the proposed products are very much in development, and that the X-Ray Specs in particular are very close to release.
"Trust me, it won't be long before we're all looking through each other's clothes," he said, noting that the company has a goal for everyone to own a pair of X-Ray Specs, with the exception of his childhood friend Andrew Tofler, who wouldn't be allowed to buy them because he was "such a jerk."
Meanwhile, several other companies are said to be patenting X-Ray Spec technology, including Apple, which is reportedly testing a beta version of glasses that works perfectly, except for when they catch on fire. And Disney reportedly developed a pair exclusively for CEO Bob Iger, who keeps them in the "Disney vault" next to the R-rated version of the Hannah Montana movie.
But Page says that Google's glasses will be the first to hit the mass market, and they're not going to stop there: The company is reportedly also very close to marketing entire families of genetically engineered naked undersea creatures it calls "Sea Monkeys."
"Oh come on," responded MIT's Menstry. "Making naked sea creature families is a lot harder than it looks."
Menstry was also skeptical about the estimated prices of the new Google products, mostly between $1 and $3. "That sounds about as likely as getting neat prizes free for selling GRIT magazine," he said.
- CAP News Staff