Tech pundits are going nuts about Google’s computerized glasses.
Entrepreneur Loic LeMeur is so excited he tweeted pictures of his family in them. Tech god Robert Scoble says he is never taking them off. Gadget guru Kevin Smith says he’s “blown away.” Etc.
Meanwhile, those who point out that when you read between the lines of all these raves you can see that folks mostly want to like the current version of Google Glass rather than actually liking it, are blasted as Luddite haters who don’t know the future when they see it.
Well, I may not know the future when I see it.
But I can tell you one thing:
Except, perhaps, in very specialised circumstances, I don’t want to talk to my glasses.
And given that “talking to your glasses” is the primary interface for Google Glass, that’s a problem.
A couple of months ago, even I got to try on some Google Glass(es).
The time just hangs there in front of you, as though it’s projected on a windshield. It’s also cool to be able to take pictures of what you’re looking at (although there’s an annoying lag).
If/when Google gets the Google Glass(es) price down to ~$100-~$200 and makes Google Glass(es) look like normal glasses, I could see normal folks wearing them. I might even wear them in certain situations!
But the main interface for Google Glass(es) right now is talking to them.
You can also stroke and tap them, but that looks and feels dorky, and if you’re going to stroke and tap something, you might as well stroke and tap your phone–a gadget that is right there in your hand and can do everything Glass(es) can do plus a whole lot more.
So, absent stroking and tapping, if you want to do anything with your Google Glass(es), you have to say, “OK, Glass!” and then tell them what you want to do.
You can say, “Take a picture!” for example.
Then, after a short but annoying lag, your Google Glass(es) will snap a picture for you.
That’s kind of a cool party trick–something that’s fun to try a few times, or something that’s good for amusing the kids for a few minutes, like Apple’s Siri.
But as the primary interface to your glasses, it’s lousy.
For the same reason that Apple’s Siri was deeply flawed even before folks figured out that it didn’t work all that well.
Because unless you’re all by yourself–such as when you’re driving, for example–you don’t want to talk to your glasses. Or your phone.
At least I don’t want to talk to my glasses or phone.
Especially when I’m talking to someone else, who is already going to be annoyed that I’m wearing a device that basically says “I’m only partially here with you, and you’re so boring that I need this conversation to be augmented–because anything is more interesting than talking to you.”
I don’t want to interrupt an already fragile conversation like that to say, “Take a picture!”
And I also don’t want to wander around museums or streets or restaurants saying, “Take a picture!”
I’d rather just take the picture myself, with a phone.
Also, I don’t need to know what time it is every single second of the day.
And I don’t find it all that inconvenient to look up at a baggage-claim screen to figure out which carousel my suitcase is on–I don’t need my Glass(es) to do that for me.
It would DEFINITELY be cool to take pictures of people without they’re knowing that I was taking pictures of them (nice journalism tool!), but that might be unethical, and I also couldn’t do it without saying “Take a picture!” or stroking and fondling my glasses. So it wouldn’t be practical.
Bottom line, that’s my biggest issue with Google Glass(es) right now.
I don’t hate the idea of wearing them, as long as they eventually look like normal glasses.
I just don’t want to talk to them. Or raise my fingers to my temple to self-consciously fondle them. And I don’t think anyone else really does, either.
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