Another I/O keynote with little-to-no mention of Google Glass. Is the project dead? Well, maybe. If so, it’s very likely Google’s own fault, as this fantastic Daily Show segment helps illustrate.
Because I’m such a gadget nerd, people often ask me if I’m going to buy Google Glass, and they seem legitimately shocked when I tell them no, no, God, no, why, no and then starting protectively cradling my wallet.
As much as I love gadgets, I don’t buy a gadget unless I see enough valid use-cases for that gadget in my life – and there are certainly legitimate uses I see for Glass-like technology; mostly as a heads-up display for activities where your hands are distracted, notably biking and running. I’d love to have a real-time RunKeeper display of my speed, pace, distance, and especially a map overlay. Another great use would be real-time translation of both written and spoken word while traveling. But, as expensive as Glass is, it still can’t DO those things yet – and even if it did, that’s not really $1500 worth of functionality.
I really see no value in this technology until it can be seamlessly integrated into existing items we’re wearing; smartwatches work because people already wear watches. Fitness wearables work because people already wear wristbands – or they’re so small you can easily hide them. Glass won’t work until I can put on a regular-looking pair of glasses, and those glasses immediately enrich my experience by providing me with real-time information about the world around me. Glass needs to adapt to the world; the world doesn’t need to adapt to Glass, despite with Glass-advocates might tell you.
While I understand that Glass is a far-from-finished product, I think Google showed off their ideas too early. This isn’t even an alpha-level product; it’s basically a prototype for something that won’t really be viable for at least 5-10 years, and by introducing it in such a raw fashion, I worry that Google pre-emptively poisoned the well when it comes to society’s acceptance of sort of technology. As the Glass wearer in the video states, it’s basically a cell phone strapped to your head at this point – and that’s not something anyone really asked for or society really wants.