Google Glass has a lot of hype behind it. And “wearable computing” seems to be an ongoing fad in tech right now. But there’s very little reason to believe Google Glass will be anything other than yet another curiosity from Google, as far as consumers are concerned.
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve long held that Google Glass is enormously important and will have dozens of applications in the private sector. Everybody from waiters to police officers are going to have Google Glass or something like it socketed into their eyehole sooner rather than later. But as a consumer product, the very idea of Google Glass is patently ridiculous. Here are three reasons why.
1. They’re Rude
It’s not really a big secret that Google does not understand people and how they work. Look no further than the Nexus Q, which died because it was chock-full of features no human being who has ever actually been to a party wants on a music player.
Google Glass is the ultimate shield for shy, awkward nerds: Plugging a computer in your eye so you don’t have to talk with people is a dream for that guy who whispers when you talk to him at the office. However, there is a small problem in the sense that if you are talking, you know, to another person, they’re not going to be able to shake the impression you’re only somewhat paying attention, or using Glass to look up your personal records, and thus make them kind of want to slap you. Or, for that matter, that you’re not filming them right now, which brings us to the next problem.
Also: how soon after Glass becomes available to the public will someone wearing them in public be punched in the face? Our guess is probably about five minutes.
2. They Inspire Mistrust
Google’s key marketing thrust is you can photograph and film with ease! Constantly! Wherever you go! Anybody! In public! And you can record their public conversations too, and post them on the Internet! Google seems unclear that this is something only attention whores and people who have no understanding of the social contract actually want.
It’s a given that social mores and expectations of privacy need to shift: We need to have a long conversation about digital etiquette. That said, how much would you trust somebody who, on first meeting, shoves a camcorder in your face?
3. They’re Going To Cost Way Too Much
Currently Glass runs at $1500, and you need to write Google an essay about how awesome they are to get one. It seems unlikely, if not impossible, that price is going to go down very far, and frankly, if you’re buying tech for a thousand dollars, it makes more sense to buy, oh, a Nexus 4 and a Nexus 7, which will do all the same things for $500 and not make people want to deck you.
True, the Chromebook Pixel demonstrates Google has little if any comprehension of the word “market pricing”, but this is ridiculous. Asking somebody to give you $1000 to $1500 for an object that makes other people want to hit you? Not a good marketing plan, Google.
Google’s aiming to make them status symbols, but first of all, Google is not good about making an object a status symbol. Google just isn’t Apple. Secondly, it’s possible to own, say, a luxury car without being a total ass about it, but Google Glass, as we’ve noted, makes that impossible.
Google Glass is a good idea, in some ways, and we’re looking forward to how it’s used. We’re just not looking forward to the first time we have to ask somebody to lift them off their face.