Don't be a Glasshole
Mention Google Glass and you're likely to get one of two responses:
- What an intriguing new platform - it could be revolutionary!
- Not only do you look like a major dork, but it's kind of creepy.
Both points are completely valid. For Google Glass to find success, it will have to balance the potential for good with the obvious hurdles it will face in the next couple of years.
An Exciting New Platform
When I heard that Google would begin accepting applications for their Glass Explorer program, I sent this tweet out, and eventually got word that I was among the chosen 8000 or so folks who have the opportunity to purchase Glass later this year:
Ultimately, I don't know if that's the sort of thing I want to do. I still think it would be fascinating to go to a baseball game and have an endless stream of information, but I don't know if it's what I would want after the novelty wore off.
There is a lot of opportunity with Glass, I think, to create new ways to interact with our phones and the unseen wireless network we live in. To read more on this, check out this article on Read Write Web: Why Google Glass Is Far More Important Than Any Smartwatch
This excerpt from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash really strikes a chord:
Gargoyles are no fun to talk to. They never finish a sentence. They are adrift in a laser-drawn world, scanning retinas in all directions, doing background checks on everyone within a thousand yards, seeing everything in visual light, infrared, millimeter. wave radar, and ultrasound all at once. You think they're talking to you, but they're actually poring over the credit record of some stranger on the other side of the room, or identifying the make and model of airplanes flying overhead.
There is already a movement of people in the world speaking out against people becoming androids, utilizing technology in more 'invasive' ways, and even leaning on implants to augment our senses. There is certainly a cause for concern - as with all new innovations, we must consider the downside and find a healthy balance in which we utilize them in our daily lives. This will be a key factor in the success of Google Glass (or Google Contacts, or whatever they eventually morph into).
Undoubtedly, Google Glass is a beta project. It's not the end game, but rather an entry point to a new way of interacting with technology. The goal is to get us away from what we already do - hold a phone out in front of us, staring at it, lost in the information it presents - rather than being 'present' in the moment. Case in point - look at how many phones are being held up during the next concert you attend. You might even spot some nut job holding up an iPad. It's insane.
There are certainly areas where the utility of Google Glass seems obvious if you think about it - police officers (and security guards) having information sent to their line of vision immediately, medical professionals - just for starters. Get a few drinks in me, and we'll have all sorts of applications in mind. The thing to focus on right now is finding the right people who can in a sense beta test this new way of interacting with technology. Once the right use cases are found, the technology can be put to work right away, and any problems can be addressed.
VC funding is out there. People believe in the product and its potential - case in point, the The Glass Collective.
Do you have an idea? Let's talk!