Posted by David Hamrick on
Joshua Topolsky wrote a great article about Google Glass and what it was like to use. I think Google is making a great decision investing in such an innovative product. But will people like it, or want to use it?
Google Glass appears to use voice as the primary input device. This is a very large departure from almost every other consumer electronics device. While there are devices that use voice as an input device (Apple’s Siri, Google Now), they are generally an ancillary way to use the device. Will somebody feel comfortable talking to their headset on a bus, walking down the street, or in a bar? There are certainly other input methods that are possible. There appear to be buttons on the side of Glass (directional pad?) and you could use head tilts to navigate menus. And to input text you could use your smartphone paired with the device to act as the keyboard.
One of the primary use cases that has been highlighted in Google’s promotional videos has been instant 1st person video. This is a very nice feature for the person wearing Glass, but what about for the people around them? Will others be comfortable that at any moment a person wearing Glass could be filming them? There are certainly ways to solve this problem, something like a red light indicating filming that has been on camcorders for decades. There are also social consequences for newsworthy events. Instead of a person shoving a camera in your face, clearly indicating that they are filming you, they can now just stand there looking at you. How will police officer react to someone wearing Glass? It’s difficult to rip them off your face and destroy the tape when you’re on a Google Hangout and uploading your video for all the world to see.
I agree with the Joshua’s premise, that is not a question of if technology like this will catch on, but when. I can certainly imagine a future of having a heads up display in a contact lens, and this is a step in that direction.