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Brin gives rose-tinted view of net glasses

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Google's Project Glass

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SERGEY BRIN envisions Google's internet glasses hitting the market this year with an eye towards freeing people from unsocial habits engendered by ''emasculating'' smartphones.

Speaking on Wednesday at the annual TED conference - known for its mix of influential big thinkers and ideas - Google co-founder Mr Brin demonstrated his point by ignoring the audience while he stared at his smartphone, saying he was intent on a message from a Nigerian prince in need of $10 million.

''In addition to potentially socially isolating yourself when you are out and about using your phone, I feel it is kind of emasculating,'' he said.

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Mr Brin said he had a vision since Google's inception that one day search queries would be outmoded and information from the internet would come to people when they needed it.

Google Glass frees the eyes and hands when connecting to the internet on the go, he said.

''That is why we put the display up high, out of the line of sight,'' Mr Brin said, wearing the Glass eyewear he is rarely seen without. ''If I wore a ball cap, the display would be on the brim and not where you are looking. And sound goes through bones in the cranium, which is a little freaky at first, but you get used to it.''

Prime Minister Julia Gillard tries out Google Glass while Google's CFO is in town.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard tries out Google Glass while Google's CFO is in town. Photo: Twitter.com/JuliaGillard

Glass wearers can speak commands to the eyewear and camera technology allows pictures or video to be captured from first-person perspectives.

Mr Brin said people sometimes used smartphones as distractions or to appear busy. Glass stripped away excuses not to be sociable or not to be honest about wanting to take a break.

''It really opened my eyes to how much of my life I spent secluded away in email, social posts or whatnot,'' he said.

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, introduces the Google Glass Explorer

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, introduces the Google Glass Explorer

Mr Brin said Glass eyewear would be available this year for less than the $US1500 charged to software developers and early adopters during a test phase. A video intended to capture what it feels like to use Glass was online at google.com/glass/start/.

Google has been speaking with frame companies about a consumer version of the glasses, which Mr Brin expected would cost ''significantly'' less than the prototypes.

Agence France-Presse

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