Google Glass: Not For Everyone

Loic Le Meur

And right now, available to very few.

Definition, please: What is “Google Glass?” Picture someone wearing eyeglasses. Take away the glass lenses and keep the metal frame, then picture a housing and clear piece of glass in front of your right eyebrow/eye. The piece of glass is like the screen on your smartphone. (Sort of.) You’re wearing it! There’s no keyboard — you speak to it — and you see the words and pictures on the glass as if they were projected eight feet in front of you. Google Glass is wired to your smartphone or other device that you’re carrying in your pocket.

Most important question next: Can I buy it yet?

No, dear. A limited number (first come, first served) were sold to the public in the U.S. for one day, April 15, for $1,500. So no. You can’t buy it. Yet.

But tens of thousands are wearing Google Glass! And wearing it right now!

Yes — but they are screened individuals who have been invited or accepted into the Google Glass Explorer program, which invites them to buy Glass (for $1,500) — and asks them to sign an agreement that they will discuss Google Glass in a “relatively friendly” manner when they are asked questions by the public. You can apply to join, but you have to be 18 or older, and be a U.S. resident.

Second most important question — Later, when I can buy it, will I want it?

Here we turn to Matt Swider’s review, April 15, 2014, in TechRadar.com. “Not everyone will get their money’s worth with this one-of-a-kind novelty,” Matt writes. “Google has created the most sought-after sci-fi-looking gadget that everyone wants to wear at least once.”

“But,” he adds, “its uses are currently limited.” The no-hands, voice command camera and video, and Google Now information display will draw buyers, and now there’s Google Glass 2, which is more consumer-friendly. It will go on sale sometime this year.

And on the downside: What’s difficult about Google Glass?

Hayley Tsukayama, writing in the Washington Post blog, “The Switch: Where technology and policy connect,” tried Google Glass for a week.

“It’s been well over a year since Google first announced the smart headset in the summer of 2012 at a developers’ conference,” she says, “but it’s clear that people still aren’t all that comfortable with it.”

There are some specific problems, at least for the time being. One is short battery life — about 30 minutes. Another is the huge reaction other people have when you’re wearing Glass. Glass can be “in the way.”

And some people wonder, “Are you filming me?” But you can tell them, “No, but if someone is filming you using Google Glass, the lens lights up so you can tell you’re being filmed. That’s Google’s way of letting the public know their privacy isn’t being violated just because someone is wearing Google Glass.” (Quotations in this paragraph not from Ms. Tsukayama.)

On the plus side, Google Glass is this simple: Whenever you want to instruct it, you simply say, "OK, Glass."

If Google Glass is not for everyone, will it be for you?