Sergey Brin, CEO and co-founder of Google, wears a Google Glass during a product demonstration

Google digital glasses move closer to reality

Google says it expects to launch a consumer version of its electronic eyewear in less than two years.

Google Glass, as the technology is known, can live-stream images and audio and perform computing tasks, and will be available to U.S.-based software developers at $1,500 from early next year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said.

Brin showed off the glasses, which he said would be sold at a "significantly" lower price, at Google's annual developer conference in San Francisco this week, providing the most in-depth public look at the futuristic technology since Google first announced the project in April.

Google also unveiled its first tablet, the Nexus 7, which it will start selling from mid-July for $199, hoping to replicate its smartphone success in a hotly contested market now dominated by Amazon's Kindle Fire and Apple's iPad.

Google Glass is a stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on the left side of a pair of eyeglass frames which can record video, access email and messages, and retrieve information from the Web.

Several skydivers demonstrated the technology by jumping out of an airship wearing the glasses and landing on the roof of San Francisco's Moscone Center, sharing a live video of the stunt with the crowd.

Attendants at the conference tried on Brin's personal pair of glasses, where they were able to watch a video of fireworks in which the perspective shifted as wearers moved their heads to look up, down or sideways.

The glasses, which weigh less than some sunglasses, contain a wireless networking chip and essentially all the other technology found inside a typical smartphone, Google executives said.

The battery is smaller than a smartphone battery, but Google is working on ways to make the battery charge last for a full day.

Brin said he expects the glasses to be available to consumers less than a year after the developer version is available.

Google is still experimenting with various aspects of the glasses, including potentially providing directions on the screen and the ability to have the glasses speak out text messages, Brin said.

He said, in response to a question, that there are no plans to offer any kind of advertising on the device.

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