Introducing the Google Looking Glass

A mirror for our times

Max Braun's Google Looking Glass.
Sneak Preview: a look at Max Braun’s Google Looking Glass. Photograph by Max Braun himself, 2016 (Creative Commons License – Some Rights Reserved).


When you wake up in the morning, what’s the first thing you do?  Switch off the alarm?  Turn your smartphone or tablet on?  If you fall in the latter, you’re probably the kind of person who wants to check the news, weather or traffic information prior to going out.  You feel safe in the knowledge you’ve put the right coat on, or avoided the busiest roads.  Could the Google Looking Glass (our name for it, not theirs as yet) be a suitable alternative to the tablet?

Your Android powered Google Looking Glass

Within the next five years or so, your bathroom mirror could be used to relay news, travel and weather information.  Whilst brushing your teeth or combing your hair, you’ll be able to see if the East Lancashire Road is rammed again.  Or use the mirror to decide whether to put a T-Shirt or a jumper on. In fact, the technology is already with us, thanks to Max Braun, a Google employee.

During his spare time at the Googleplex, Mr. Braun designed the Google Looking Glass and tested the prototype in his bathroom.  It uses the Android API, his vision driven by the lack of similar products on the market.  He ordered a two-way mirror, display panel, controller board, plus a selection of components, and arts and crafts supplies.  At present, the APIs used are Forecast (for weather), and Associated Press’ news feeds.  In time he aims to add travel information and a host of other APIs.

In future years, Max’s Google Looking Glass could be a boon in public buildings.  Public toilets could display football scores, especially in sports venues.  The lavatories at your mainline rail station could be used to relay train times, delays and cancellations.  In development is voice controlled features and integration of the Google Now API.

“My mirror always echoes… echoes…”

At present, there is already an alternative to the Google Looking Glass.  Entitled MirrorMirror, Dylan J. Pearce’s creation allows you to do the same with a flat screen monitor and a Raspberry Pi computer. Unlike Max Braun’s design, it is reliant on the power cord (so bathroom use is most definitely out).

Even so, MirrorMirror could be good for a dressing table.  Through Dylan’s website, you can make your own connected mirror, well before Google Looking Glass reaches production stages.

We think network connected mirrors could be a boon in the average geek’s bathroom or the bedroom. They could be useful in the First Class Lounge at a mainline station next to the tea and coffee making facilities.

Net66, 03 February 2016.