May 6, 2013
Big Glass Dummies
Google’s Glass spectacles aren’t yet publicly available, but we’re beginning to see a lot more about them as the few thousand or so Glass Explorers are beginning to go Heads-On with these ridiculous grasps for a Star Trekkian future.
So, in a way, these Glass Explorers are like a guerrilla marketing team for Google, showing off the product in the wild, posting their thoughts and reactions on social networks (read: Google+) and even writing new apps for the still rare headset.
Therefore it’s so unfortunate that the first impression many “regular consumers” will get of these things will be from geeky technophiles from Silicon Valley. People from this area don’t always talk in the same way the rest of the world does. They’re super into “disruption,” a wholly disturbing word if you really begin to think about it.
They’re idea of a nine-to-five is talking about concepts for several hours, building some software, seducing some rich people, then wait for Apple, Google or Facebook to buy them out.
They’re nice people, sure…but if this is a product which you want to grab a foothold in the common market, these probably aren’t the best sales teams.
The next obvious question is this: Is Glass really something Google wants to take mainstream?
We’re talking about a pair of falsie eye ware with an LED light and a prism built into one side, for crying out loud. Based on looks alone, this thing could never make it outside the West coast, New York, and probably Austin.
I’m sure every company wants to have an iPhone on their hands; that is, a product which the populace of the entire world clamors for, a device which continues to rake in the profit each quarter.
Parenthetically, there are those who abhor the iPhone, but they’re probably the same people who are excited about the “disruptive” nature of Glass.
Which is to say, Google has to know that this product has already buried itself in its own sci-fi niche, yes?
From the first day I saw a picture of Glass, I began wondering who in the world would ever want to buy them. So far, the people who have purchased the Explorer units are exactly the types of people I imagined would be willing to plunk down some cash.
But I can’t think of anyone else who would look at these things and find them appealing enough to buy and commit to.
This isn’t to mention the growing privacy concerns and overall “creepy” factor of Glass.
With Glass, taking pictures and shooting video is as easy as looking at something. In fact, a new and horribly named app for Glass allows wearers take a picture by winking.
Just let that one sink in for a moment.
Oh, and look up the word “Winky” in the Urban Dictionary for extra bonus content.
Marcus Wohlsen has written a great piece about the potential future of Glass for Wired in which he compares this new, supposedly “disruptive” gadget to bluetooth headsets and the Segway. It’s an apt comparison, particularly when it comes to the Segway.
This thing was supposed to change the way everyone got around and yet, the only people I’ve ever seen using one in earnest (an important distinction) are mall cops and Gob Bluth.
“Google Glass, like the Segway, is what happens when Silicon Valley spends too much time talking to itself,” writes Wohlsen in his Wired article.
“Maybe that’s even overstating the case: The rhetoric around Google Glass is what happens when important tech people spend a little too much time congratulating each other.”
There’s an old saying: “If you’re one step ahead you’re a leader, if you’re two steps ahead you’re a martyr.”
While I remain pessimistic about Glass ever gaining traction with this generation, I do believe Google is at least two steps ahead with this project, maybe even five or six.
In other words, if wearable computing like Glass truly is the future (and how I hope it isn’t) then Google is falling on their sword with Glass.
Image Credit: Google