Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Messages From the Future: The Fate of Google Glass

Messages From the Future: The Fate of Google Glass

Ow. What a painful analysis. But it's probably going to be correct. Assuming anybody actually buys Google Glass in the first place, of course.

... And to think Google Glass was a really good idea, you sort of had to be a loner. A slightly sad, insecure, misfit. Typically riding the train with no one to talk to. Incidentally, later- before Facebook died, Facebook Graph showed that Glass wearers didn’t have many friends. Not the kind they could hug or have a beer or shop with.

Wearing Google Glass made users feel like they didn’t have to connect with the actual humans around them. "I’m elsewhere – even though I appear to be staring right at you." Frankly the people who wore Google Glass were afraid of the people around them. And Glass gave them a strange transparent hiding place. A self-centered context for suffering through normal moments of uncomfortable close proximity. Does it matter that everyone around you is more uncomfortable for it?

At least with a hand-held phone there was no charade. The very presence of the device in hand, head down, was a clear flag alerting bystanders to the momentary disconnect. "At the moment, I’m not paying attention to you."

But in it’s utterly elitist privacy, Google Glass offered none of that body language. Which revealed other problems.

In the same way that the introduction of cellphone headsets made a previous generation of users on the street sound like that crazy guy who pees on himself as he rants to no one, Google Glass pushed its users past that, occupying all their attention, their body in space be damned – mentally disconnecting them from their physical reality. With Glass, not even their eyes were trustworthy.

Actually, it was commonly joked that Glass users often appeared down right "mentally challenged" as they stared through you trying to work out some glitch that no one else in the world could see. They’d stutter commands and and tap their heads and blink and look around lost and confused. ...

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