The problem with Google Glass

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| March 23, 2014


I have a tendency to bounce back and forth between my opinions on subjects. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of jumping the gun on a product or software before really giving it a fair chance, and other times it’s due to changes within a pricing model, an operating system, a design, or other aspect of a product. In the case of Google Glass, it’s a little bit of both, with a sprinkle of confusion and misunderstanding brought into the mix as well.


I started off positively loathing the idea of Google Glass. Unsure of what to make of this new gadget, I assumed the worst. I saw visions of creepers stealthily recording unsuspecting victims on the street and I saw even more distracted drivers. However, after careful reconsideration I did realize there was some potential good to come out of Google Glass as well. Maybe this product wasn’t as evil as I was making it out to be. Maybe I jumped the gun a bit.


And, in a lot of ways, I had. But even if I was jumping the gun, the real problem with Google Glass still persists, and the issue is briefly outlined in their “Top 10 Google Glass Myths” that Google themselves just shared on Google+ three days ago.



While their main point was saying that no, Glass does not, in fact, cover up the eye, they go on to (rhetorically) ask the author if they had even tried Google Glass yet. I’m willing to bet two things here: No, the author had not used Glass, and they probably didn’t because of the high price of Google Glass, as outlined here:



It cost $1,500 to use Google Glass. That is a pretty big chunk of money, and I’m willing to bet that most tech bloggers out there aren’t going to want to fork that over for a prototype product (contrary to popular belief, many tech bloggers get their products on their own dime) that may or may not be allowed in a lot of public places around town. It’s also worth mentioning that, unlike phones, there isn’t exactly designated Google Glass kiosks around town where people can walk in and try it before they buy it. It’s a completely blind, hopeful purchase. And maybe there’s nothing Google can do about that price for now because of the technology that Glass uses, but nonetheless that’s probably the biggest hurdle for people to get over when it comes to obtaining Google Glass.


The fact that Google felt the need to issue a “Top 10 Myths” list for Glass shows that there is some serious misunderstanding going on here, but they should probably understand that it’s likely a result of poor execution. The idea of smartglasses might be cool in theory, but it’s still a new type of technology that your average bear really doesn’t understand. As a result, you potentially have run-ins with authority figures, court dates, or getting kicked out of venues, all in the name of being an early tech adopter. Nobody really likes to be ostracized, and I’m fairly certain there are even less people that want to pay $1,500 to get that way.


It is easy to see why Glass is so feared. Here we are, in an era where it seems like every time you turn around there’s a new report of how companies have been watching our every move, and now we have your regular, run-of-the-mill citizens walking around with this sort of strange-looking pair of eyeglasses on their face. It doesn’t take much to infer that this pair of “glasses” does more than any regular pair of glasses can do, especially when a red recording light happens to turn on. Although Glass can’t record for more than a few seconds, or do facial recognition for that matter, most people don’t know that. All they know is that somebody is able to record them, nearly undetected, if they want to. There is no classic signs where they raise their arms to raise a camera for a good angle; if you’re lucky enough to see the red dot, only then you will know.


It’s unclear whether Glass will ever be as popular as it intended to be. Maybe it will turn out like other early tech products that had to forage through skepticism to get to where they are today. Or, as others have predicted, perhaps Glass won’t get so lucky. Even Slate, the website behind the popular interactive Google Graveyard, already has a grave ready to go for Google Glass. Whether that grave will ever actually be filled is yet to be determined, but if something big doesn’t happen for Glass soon, I fear that it won’t be long before we can start laying flowers for one of the tech industry’s most interesting products.


If you haven't checked out Google's "Top 10 Google Glass Myths" post, it's a good read regardless. You can check it out here.


Readers, what are your thoughts these days regarding Google Glass? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images via Read Write, Business Insider