Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that today, for the first time, Google is opening sales of Google Glass to any adult in the United States. The sale will last for one day only, supplies are limited, and in true sale fashion Google is throwing in a pair of frames or sunglasses for anyone willing to fork over the $1,500 asking price.
Glass has not been without its share of controversy since it began adorning the faces of those privileged enough to be selected as Glass “Explorers” (the name given to its beta testers). It came under fire for promoting unsafe driving habits, was banned in certain bars and restaurants, and sparked the ire of many who feel it violates their privacy—it even caused an all-out brawl. But it’s impossible to ignore the potential cultural impacts of Glass (great overview here by MIT Technology Review).
Google Glass is attempting to fundamentally change the way we experience and interact with the world around us. Though the technology itself still has some kinks, the concept is fairly straightforward – to seamlessly fit into our daily routines and provide immediate access to information that will arguably enhance our experience of the world, both at work and play. Glass takes the smartphone concept to its next logical step – no longer do we have to go to all the trouble of pulling something out of our pocket to get connected. You would now have directions, information about your next meeting or the ability to snap a quick picture right in front of you. It even has massive potential impacts on the workplace; doctors, firefighters, police officers and engineers have all been experimenting. The development possibilities are endless.
The key determining factor in whether Glass will be widely adopted is down to how good the user experience is – more so than the functionality, or even the app ecosystem that builds around it. If users need to continually swipe the arm to jog through options or are barraged by unwanted messages clouding their vision, then Glass will inevitably be tossed aside in favor of tools that actually do just fit in with their daily lives. As with all technology, people don’t want to spend time dwelling on it – they just want it to work.
What has your experience with Glass been? Help or hindrance?