Chinese Search Giant Baidu Working On Google Glass Rival

Baidu, China’s largest web services company, has announced it is developing an augmented reality headset to rival Google Glass.

Codenamed ‘Baidu Eye’, the device features image search, voice control, bone conducting audio and facial recognition technology. However, Reuters reported that the high-tech specs are being tested internally and it’s not clear if they will ever appear on the commercial market.

Many observers took the initial leak of information related to Baidu Eye on Monday as an April’s Fool joke. The project was later confirmed by a Baidu spokesman, however.

Four-eyes

Baidu, incorporated in 2000, enjoys the same position on the Chinese market as Google in the West or Yandex in Eastern Europe. Alongside search, it offers 56 other services including navigation, forum and blog hosting, news aggregation, translation and video hosting.

Earlier this year, Google launched Project Glass – an experimental set of Android-powered glasses that can capture video, take photos and provide the wearer with a web-connected heads-up display.

Now, it’s Chinese competitor looks about to do the same. Just like Google Glass, Baidu Eye will use a small screen to display images, rather than add a layer of digital information to reality, as per the original concept of augmented reality.

However, Baidu’s spokesman Kaiser Kuo told Reuters that comparisons to Google Glass were premature, as it wasn’t clear if Baidu Eye would ever be sold to consumers. “We experiment with every kind of technology that is related to search,” said Kuo.

The launch of Google Glass was hailed as the advent of wearable computing, but now there are serious privacy and practical concerns about the technology. A number of private establishments have already banned Google Glass, and a proposal to outlaw wearing the device while driving is currently debated in the US state of West Virginia.

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Max Smolaks

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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