Scoble: Google Glass is Doomed


Tech columnist Robert Scoble at The Next Web has a great counterpoint to Matthew Honan’s Wired piece that sensationalizes the alleged paranoia of the general public when they see someone wearing Google’s Glass wearable “computer on your face”.

Said Honan:

When I wear it at work, co-workers sometimes call me an asshole. My co-workers at WIRED, where we’re bravely facing the future, find it weird. People stop by and cyber-bully me at my standing treadmill desk.

I’ve never seen such “get off my lawn you whippersnappers” demonstrated by young, tech-oriented people. Perhaps Honan was expecting that response, and that’s what he experienced as a result. Perhaps not. Read some of the comments to the post to see what I mean. Why do people think they have some expectation of privacy in a public place?

Scoble, on the other hand, says he hasn’t experienced any glassholery while wearing his pair:

Nearly everyone wants to try it. Google is brilliant. They got us to pay $1,500 (plus tax) to be its PR agent. It’s gotten to the point where even I don’t want to wear them around. At one conference a few people in a bathroom wanted to try them on. I figure I’ve shared my Glass with 500-1,000 people.

Ill-informed social paranoia aside, Scoble feels that Glass is doomed for these reasons:

  1. The expectations are too high
  2. Too expensive and not user friendly
  3. Not enough apps
  4. Poor UI implementation
  5. Poor battery life
  6. Poor photo workflow
  7. No Facebook on Glass
  8. No contextual filtering of information presented
  9. No app store/distribution
  10. People are afraid they would “lose themselves in their mobile addiction”

Issues 1-9 will undoubtedly be fixed eventually. Given time, and Google’s coding and algorithmic expertise, these will become non-issues and be ameliorated.

I can’t buy the mobile addiction argument, though. Scoble again:

Most are disappointed in themselves and their lack of ability to put their phones down. They fear that if they were to go with Glass they would just totally lose themselves to their mobile addictions. They are right to be scared of that. If Glass actually worked the way I’m dreaming of I would be even more addicted to our online world than I am today. People are scared of losing their humanness. What makes them human.

Are people really disappointed in themselves because they are unable to put their phones down? How is a phone/Glass/other internet portal any more than a bringer of information and facilitator of communication? Have people lost their humanness because they choose to ride in a car, wear clothing, or partake of any countless number of other technological innovations? Would the use of a “Super-Glass” make wearers mindless drones, unable to unplug from the online world?

I think Scoble underestimates the paranoia many people feel around a Glass wearer. Typically, many people whom have never actually used Glass complain about being photographed or videoed on their daily public comings and goings, like they are invisible between their car and the grocery store. Between Facebook and the NSA, privacy is dead; that train has left the station, and it ain’t coming back. Get over it.

Like mobile phones themselves, or bluetooth headsets, people will adapt and the use of Glass and Glass-like wearables will be routine, and we’ll look back and wonder what the big deal was. Ok, most people will simply forget there was pushback. It will be as if Glass and it’s wearable tech progeny always existed.

And this is the conclusion of both Scoble and Honan-wearable tech with persistent internet connections are coming-eventually. The hardware and software hasn’t matured enough, so 2014 won’t be Glass’ year. Add to that society’s unreadiness to accept Glass.

But in the not-too-distant future, it will be here, and I guess we’ll all be mindless internet-addicted shells of our human selves.

[button url=’#’ size=’small’ style=’blue’] Source: The Next Web [/button]