You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and you can't make AR glasses without cracking a few lenses.
That seems to be the opinion of Google Australia’s managing director Nick Leeder, who this week conceded Google's augmented-reality Project Glass was fraught with uncertainties.
Leeder was suprisingly frank about the gadget's chances of success during a panel session held by the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce.
"[The smartphone] is the first internet device that we carry with us all the time, but it won't be the only one. Soon, we're going to have many," Leeder told delegates at the event.
However, he conceded Google had no idea when, or if, augmented-reality eyewear would ever become mainstream.
Google's Project Glass.
"We don't know exactly whether or not [Project Glass] takes off and explodes. I think in terms of 'gut feel' it's a pretty good start," Leeder said. "But often you find in this space that it's version two, three, four, five, six or seven that really hums.
"I think you have to be prepared as a company to have a crack, possibly fail at a few things first, but not be embarrassed by that and just keep plugging away."
Project Glass, a pet project of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, is an augmented-reality lens that provides access to online data, including weather, memos and text messages.
The interface is controlled via an Apple Siri-like voice engine. Brin recently showed off a new camera feature that allows the wearer to automatically take photos of what they can see.
The device remains in the prototype stage. While the company has allowed developers to pre-order early versions of the glasses, it is not currently known when the final product will see the light of day, although Brin has hinted at a possible 2014 release date.
Photo taken with Project Glass [credit: Google]
Project Glass is part of the company's adaptive strategy to meet the rapid shift to online mobile platforms, which now account for approximately a third of all Google searches, Leeder said.
"Whenever a change like this happens you have a choice to make as a company — how do you respond to that change? Do you decide to really run at that change hard, or do you decide to protect your core?" Leeder said.
"If that's where the users are going we need to be there, we need to understand it and we need to help our customers and clients figure out their mobile strategies as well."