Google Chairman: Wearable Gadgets Coming, But Didn't Wear Glass in NKorea

Credit: Joanna Stern

Google Glass, those wearable glasses that overlay digital information in the physical world, has sparked a whole new level of interest in wearable computing, but Google Chairman Eric Schmidt says that's just the start of how computers and technology will connect to our bodies.

"I used to say you'd have 10 IP addresses on your body and it looks like that's going to happen," Schmidt said during an interview at the "All Things D: Dive into Mobile" conference in New York City this morning. In his new book "The New Digital Age," he talks about everything from connected pills to medical monitoring. He did clarify that Google is not focused on all those things; he merely speculates in the book about how technology will evolve.

Still, Schmidt said that in the near term we're going to see a surge in wearable computing devices from consumer electronics makers, including Google Glass and connected watches. "We're going to see lots of wearable computing, we will see lots of sorts of things," he said.

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When pressed about Google's rumored smartwatch, which would bring phone functionality to a wrist-watch, he said, "Many people stopped wearing watches because they had their phones. The question is whether your watch will be powerful enough." He suggested that just as Google Glass uses voice as the primary mode of control, connected watches would have to do the same thing, very similar to how Dick Tracy used his futuristic watch phone.

With this new generation of technology we place on our bodies will come new social implications and rules, but Schmidt maintains though that its not Google's job to figure all that out. When asked about those social norms and the appropriateness of wearing a camera and screen on one's face he said: "We don't know, our job is to put the platforms out there. There are so many people that are excited about these."

Still, Schmidt shared that while on his recent trip to North Korea, he didn't think it was appropriate to wear his pair of Google Glass. "I didn't want to freak them out," he said. "They have a lot of guns."