Tech Devil: Google Glasses Reminds us the Future is Awesome(ly Ridiculous)

Last week Google revealed their plans for creating glasses that keep you connected with their services in a visual manner. The glasses, which are basically a frame sans lenses with a tiny projector attached, look like something out of a sci-fi movie. But the future is bound to arrive someday, maybe just not this soon. The video accompanying the announcement shows a person going through his daily routine, but instead of using a phone, he uses the glasses to communicate with his friend, get directions, and even video chat. I still think the video, while incredibly awesome, shows that Google isn’t quite there yet. There are some serious hurdles that they have to navigate before they release a final product.

The main issue is simply functionality. Google doesn’t say whether or not the glasses work the same way they were portrayed in the video, but Google executive Sergey Brin stated that they have some functionality, but are still polishing the product. Just looking at the glasses themselves, I’ve had a hard time figuring out exactly how the visual aspect will work, but I’m not the one creating them so I’ll have to wait and see.

Another massive hurdle is the societal impact and implications. The glasses look weird. They would stick out in a lineup of people wearing glasses. One article talked about how the glasses will have to overcome the “Segway problem.” The problem is that people will have a reaction to the glasses that reminds us that the future is “a silly future rather than an inspiring one.” I would agree. You would think that if a person or company were to create these futuristic devices, they would make sure they don’t look ridiculous. But on the other hand, the first cell phones looked ridiculous too.

Tied into the societal implications are the privacy concerns. I can already see people being uncomfortable with the fact that the glasses know exactly where they are and what they’re doing. Do you make automatic check-ins on Google+ opt-in or opt-out? Granted, these issues exist with smartphones already, but it will seem more personal on such an innocent tool such as a pair of glasses. Will Google somehow put advertising in the product and, if so, will it be intrusive or will you be able to block it? I’m sure engineers and product managers at Google are losing sleep over these things, so I won’t harp on the issues too much. The product hasn’t even been released and probably won’t be for a while.

Though we may laugh at the idea of odd-looking glasses being the way we communicate, it was bound to happen. We’ve seen this sort of thing in movies (Minority Report FTW) and ignored the fact that we would get to the same point eventually. Maybe we just didn’t expect it to be this soon, but like it or not, the future is slowly becoming a reality. Along with things as simple as glasses, we’ll begin to see the Internet of things. Anything that can have a chip in it will and will be able to interact with the Internet in ways we couldn’t imagine five years ago. I’m excited to see how well Google does with these glasses. And if you see me in a few years wearing the glasses, I will be doing so shamelessly.


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