Google has finally “unveiled” Project Glass. I say “unveiled” because this isn’t a product that is in beta testing, alpha testing, or even a concept model phase. It’s just a somewhat cool video. I think their description (in the Google+ post, which ensures that 40 or 50 people will see it), shows that they’re starting from a somewhat flawed standpoint:
We think technology should work for you—to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t.
A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.
1. I fail to see how wearing this technology on your face means it’s out of the way.
2. There’s some incredible Orwellian doublespeak at work here, e.g., technology that “helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment.” As far as I can tell, it doesn’t help you to explore your world at all. It helps Google to explore your world. Think of the massive amount of data Google already has on everyone. If the Project Glass will ever get to market, they will get even more information. And this notion of “your” world. What does that even mean? I think Google has flat out given up on the idea of connecting people, and instead, has decided to help them curate their lives, and to play to the collective bloated ego, started replacing “life” with “world.”
And I’m glad that Google Glass will help to put me back in the moment that it took me out of.
3. My favorite bit: “We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input.” In non-jargon, this translates to: we’re deathly afraid of creating yet another product that winds up failing, so just tell us, what is it that you want? We’ll do it, you just have to tell us.
Well, if you’re listening (watching?), Google Glass Team, I’ll tell you what I want. I want you to take this Steve Jobs quote to heart:
People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
(Sidenote: Is anyone else totally creeped out by the thought of a world where Google Glass has caught on and there are just herds of people standing around in the streets blankly staring straight ahead, and from afar, it looks like they’re all looking at each other, but everyone’s focused right in on the foreground, so up close their eyes look almost crossed, because they’re staring at what’s happening on (in?) their Google Glass?)
(Sidenote #2: From a tech standpoint, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is called Google Glass, and not Google Glasses. If the technology should ever make it to market, I’d bet one million fake dollars that Google provides the handse—I mean, eyeglass makers with the “Glass” technology, and then they’re responsible for manufacturing the actual glasses. It’ll give an entirely new meaning to the idea of platform fragmentation.)