Ah, yes. Google Glass - the epitome of our future. It's the best of both worlds; you take a mobile device, miraculously make it completely hands-free, and what do you have? Google Glass. But just how great is this revolutionary device? Do we really know what we're getting ourselves into when say we'd love to use this new and futuristic device? I, for one, don’t think the hype will last.
First of all the campaign has already gotten off to a rocky start. The first step towards releasing this new and exciting product was to hold a contest called #ifihadglass, which sounds exactly like it reads - consumers interested in Google Glass could submit an application to Google stating what they would do with Google Glass if they were able to obtain a pair for beta testing. Sounds simple enough, but the plan backfired on Google for the most part. As it turns out, Google decided to randomize the winners and unfortunately pulled some bad eggs out of the basket. Winners included people who wanted to make a more meaningful impact on the world by throwing Google Glass at your face, and another who would use it to "cut" someone. I'm not sure if this was a case of bad decision-making on Google's part or maybe they just had too much faith in humanity, but either way I'm sure they'll have a good time digging themselves out of that one.
But that's beside the point. Just because a campaign goes bad doesn't necessarily mean that the product is bad. And I admit, it's not the product that's bad - it's the design. It is new, revolutionary, and intriguing, but I have to ask just how practical it is in terms of everyday usage.
When I went to the Google Glass homepage, I decided to first read what it was all about. Some of the features that Google Glass exhibits include recording video hands-free (cool); sharing what you see live with other (alright, I can dig it); directions right in front of your face (sketchy, but okay…); and answers without having to ask (pushing it a little far but alright, we'll roll with it). Honestly, all these features seem… somewhat useful in theory but not necessarily all that safe in some cases.
I'm iffy about the whole 'directions in front of your face' thing. Maybe it's just me, but when I focus my vision on something it gets about 80% of my attention. The other 20% are devoted to my surroundings. I'm pretty sure the rules of driving clearly state that you need to pay 100% of attention to the road and your surroundings at all times, and Google Glass makes this pretty hard when you have a lovely road map right there in your face. Whatever happened to the good old days and pulling off on the side of the road to read the map? I mean, who doesn't like a good road map read n' find game? "I've got a quarter to whoever can find the correct exit to Chatanooga first!"
Alright, so now I know what Google Glass does, but how does it work? Well, thankfully Google shows us exactly what it's like to wear Google Glass before you even think about purchasing a pair. Good move, Google. I actually really appreciate this demo from Google because if the $1500 price tag didn't turn me off, the translucent box that was constantly animated with text and images in the corner did. As hard as I tried to focus on the images in front of me, I kept diverting my attention back to that box to see what it was doing - and I didn't want to. I couldn't help it. It just happened. And I know that if that was me doing any of the activities that were being performed in the video that I would be too distracted to give my full attention to what was really going on in real life.
Maybe it's because of my aloof mentality that I'm not able to fully focus on one thing when two things are going on simultaneously in front of my face, but I really think this is just messing with human nature at this point. I understand that it would be really cool to share all of your first-person perspective movies and photos with all your friends straight from a pair of freakin’ glasses, but realistically I think it would have been more convenient (not to mention cheaper) to just nix the translucent display altogether and have the camera, mic, and earpiece attached to the band and just have everything sent to your phone. When you have time to get to your phone then you share the images and videos with your friends, family, and seven cats.
I like the idea, and I think it's really cool to use in certain situations. I think what I'm more afraid of is the danger and distraction aspect of Google Glass that people seem to ignore. I'm really hoping that "How It Feels" video exaggerates how large the display is in the upper-right hand corner, kind of like how I hope that the price tag on the beta Google Glass exaggerates how much they really want to sell those things for. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Readers, how do you feel about Google Glass? Do you think it's innovative? Dangerous? Maybe a little bit of both - dangervative? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Ok Glass, I’m done.
Images via Google