back to article Microsoft boffins test rival 'Google Glass' geek goggles, say insiders

Microsoft is working on a competitor to Google Glass: it's apparently sourcing parts and refining designs while it waits to see if there's a market for tiny screens perched on one's nose. The news comes from the Wall Street Journal, which has been chatting to the loquacious people "familiar" with Redmond's insides. These …


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  1. Herby

    But I'm far sighted!

    Slowly advancing presbyopia is making itself know to me and I need +3 glasses to even see the monitor I use frequently. I talked with a guy who uses his pair of Google eyes and he indicated that the focus problem is one they need to deal with.

    I guess this is for the young at heart!

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      Re: But I'm far sighted!

      Maybe it's different when you go over +2 (I'm +2). That said, I played with Glass a few weeks back, and focus is very, very adjustable, so suspect your friend didn't know, or adjust adequately.

      My biggest problem is talking to the damn thing. One, it hardly understands me (the Google bloke says the current version is tuned to American English). Two, and more importantly, there is NO WAY on this earth I'm standing in the middle of Kings Cross and saying "Go Glass..."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The new Microsoft

    running round desperately (and badly) copying Google and Apple several years later....

    It's sad and funny at the same time.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: The new Microsoft

      They will have been doing this for years.

      1. hplasm

        Re: The new Microsoft

        "They will have been doing this for years."


        "...running round desperately (and badly) copying Google and Apple several years later."

        Ah, true.

    2. RyokuMas

      Re: The new Microsoft

      ... as opposed to the zealots who are so brainwashed into their anti-Microsoft sentiment, they automatically post a derisory comment on anything Microsoft related, while at the same time failing to see that history is repeating, only this time with Google taking on the role of Microsoft...

      ... not so much funny, just plain sad.

  3. ronchap3

    universal translator, Focus issues, video length and battery time.

    I'm holding off until the 3rd or 4th generation.

    I got tired of paying for the honor to be their beta tester.

    Since MS seems to be putting lots of time, money into building a real time universal translator with very little errors. I hope they add it to this product to the glasses.

    Since everyone has different eyes. They need to work on focus. At one time MS seemed to try to promote universal access for low vision and legally blind people. It would be great if they could have a magnification option added.

    I hope they can extend battery life longer than 1 hour. I think there are 3rd party co's out with products already.

    Maybe double video record time from 10 to 20 seconds.

  4. Tempest8008

    Nothing in SciFi? Look again!

    Read "A Deepness in the Sky" by Vernor Vinge (and "A Fire Upon the Deep", just because it's a good book, based in the same 'universe').

    His version of a HUD is central to the story, is used all over the place, and even has competing operating systems and security thrown in.

    1. Martin Gregorie

      Re: Nothing in SciFi? Look again!

      Read William Gibson's earlier cyber-punk novels and take note of Molly Millions' eyewear. She appears in Neuromancer (1984), Count Zero (1986), Burning Chrome (1986) and Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988). Molly wears something very close to Googly glasses, though much cooler, and almost everybody uses immersive VR (both projected and via headsets) for gaming and accessing cyberspace.

  5. Tom Maddox Silver badge

    Correction . . .

    But the kind of portable heads-up display, usable by the general public and embodied by Google Glass, seems to have been beyond the imagination of authors, which makes it either truly innovative or a really stupid idea.

    David Brin included technology very like Google Glass in Earth and at least one short story . . . back in the 1990s. He, in fact, included them as a key component of a universal surveillance society in which any sort of anti-social behavior was immediately recorded and reported by little old ladies wearing the glasses. Initially, of course, Google Glasses and whatever imitators will be worn by the technorati, but I think it's not a far leap to see them becoming commodity eyewear and thus used to enforce social norms.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      God bless sci-fi nerds !

      Tempest8008, Martin Gregorie and Tom Maddox, I thank thee for these interesting references :)

  6. frank ly

    The nosepad stalks .....

    .... they need to be twisted through 90 degrees. Or does someone already have a patent on that more comfortable arrangement?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Microsoft has done the impossible! they've managed to make the google glass concept look even worse (not an easy feat if you ask me).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't fail

    Another fine product from Microsoft's Advanced Technology Group.

    The rest of the world call the group Google (or Apple depending on the product).

  9. robarm

    Another SciFi sighting

    A display much like Google's Glass (along with a wearable computer) also makes an important appearance in Neal Stephenson's Snowcrash, being worn by the hero - Hiro. And apparently they are in common enough use that a disparaging nick name (Gargoyles) has been applied to people wearing them.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Another SciFi sighting

      Well, as we are descending towards the society described in that book, we might as well wear the same eyeware.

      By the way, while Stevenson is a great master of rants, the rant about pizza delivery in that book beats all of them. By far.

      1. frank ly

        Re: Another SciFi sighting

        That pizza company is amazing, in an admirable but scary way.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Another SciFi sighting

      In Snow Crash (two words), "gargoyle" refers to someone wearing a lot of wearable-computing devices. Hiro is never described as a gargoyle - one of the other characters (Lagos) is. And technically his eyewear is goggles, not glasses. But whatever.

      And I'll note that the narrator of SC, in describing gargoyles and wearable computing, says "Nothing looks stupider". That may be hyperbole - the capacity of the human species to look stupid is nearly infinite - but I agree with the sentiment.

  10. Chris G

    After round corners litigation

    Micro soft had better watch out!

    Maybe they should think about installing their version to 60's hippy headbands and make it look like a third eye with a little fibre optic running down to the eye.

    They could call it Microsoft Arse 'cos thats what you'll look like

  11. Stuart Ball

    Maybe they should just leverage the Shadowrun (also based in Seattle) universe for more ideas than just poor online games.

    I'm sure Tom Dowd or Jordan Weisman could offer time as technology consultants....:)

  12. NohSpam

    Comedy Opportunities

    If I see any 'glass' punters face down with a blue face I'll call 999. "Hi, yes I need a Microsoft crash team and an ambulance. What do you mean you need my credit card and passport (advantage?) number?! Is that in the End User's Life Agreement?"

  13. poopypants

    Missed opportunity

    Instead of "Go Glass..." they should have used "Go Go Gadget...".

  14. BongoJoe

    The Inconsiderate Nature of These

    One of the things that I detest about the mobile phone culture is that if I am taking to someone who is standing in front of me then most of the time an incoming call will take priority. We've already, thankfully, have had a backlash from a supermarket till assistant who refused to serve someone who was talking on their mobile and not engaging with them.

    I see this all the time in the local supermarket and the assistants feel quite put out by people on the phone whilst being served.

    It's worse with the Uhuru style Bluetooth attachments that are placed in the year. Not only will the wearer break the immediate face-to-face conversation but the message implied by the wearer is "if I get a call then it's going to be more important than you and I won't listen to you at all"

    These glasses are going to go one step further; they're saying that the wearer is going to disengage at any moment from the person in front of them without warning.

    Thankfully here in the sticks we get precious few tossers with phones implanted in their ears and, as a whole, they are not accepted as a social norm by the locals. I can see these glasses being accepted even less.

    Living in a city or, as it seems to be called, a metro area should be no excuse for bad manners and ill consideration for others.

  15. Duffy Moon

    Star Trek game

    I seem to recall a highly addictive game involving glasses on STTNG. I expect Google/MS are hoping that their tech has a similar effect.

    1. dssf

      Re: Star Trek game... That Episode was "The Game"

      This might interest some:

      But, La Forge's VISOR is less apparent as a futuristic eyepiece of today. Maybe the hair barette anecdote is a hamper to it?

  16. Sheep!

    people "familiar" with Redmond's insides

    So Bill Gate's proctologist then?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not going to happen!

    Not even the "hipsters" can make this turkey fly!

    You’re not going to have a "hipster" tag for very long being seen with these on you bonce. You'll [rightly] be called a pleb and laughed at.

    Christ, it would be even more embarrassing than being seen with the charvaPhone 5s, with its Burberry influence and tacky never seen any "gold" in its existence colouring.


  18. John Styles

    Oh noooooooooooo!

    Everything's gone blue!

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Oh noooooooooooo!

      I have to add a LMAO to my upvote.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Oh noooooooooooo!

      <a href=">Don't IT Make My Brown Eyes Blue</a>

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