Since the world first caught wind of the coming of Google Glass, there has been some low-level excitement about when it will be available widely. Only those who apply to a Glass Explorer program can hope to have the chance to pay the $1,500 to give them a try.
Then for one day, April 15, (which happened to be Tax Day… don’t know if that means anything), anyone with the money could buy them. And buy them they did! Reports are that it sold out. And Google said all the Explorer spots are taken.
Until 2015, we’re back to limited accessibility. Which may be just as well. Many people just straight up don’t like Google Glass. The Daily Dot notes attacks against people wearing them in San Francisco. There are privacy concerns, safety concerns about their use behind the wheel of a car with laws to curb their use already being discussed, and movie industry concern that they will be used in piracy activity.
Where’s the love?
Google says that it’s the newness of the technology.
“Google compares the public response to Glass to the public response to cameras in the 19th century,” says The Daily Dot. “But it’s more apt to compare Glass to the mobile phone, and defenders do. In the 1980s, mobile phone users were often shorthand in popular culture for selfish yuppies. Movies used a fat mobile phone to show viewers if a character was a gauche, consumerist douche.”
If it goes mass, that stigma, like the one around mobile phones could go away. Otherwise, Glass could go the way of the Segway. Something that never looked cool and never caught on, but will hang around because, hey, people just paid $1,500 plus tax.
Related to that suggestion, Forbes says price and exclusivity could be an issue. Some say it’s “arrogant” for the company to ask people to pay all that money for a product that is still in test mode and won’t have all the cool software, bells and whistles for another year.
“For all the billions Google has, they have to do PR just like everyone else,” said developer/blogger David Winer.
The Atlantic goes in another direction. A blind writer for the magazine says that it makes people feel weak because it “hovers” in a space akin to assistive technology. “[T]he wearer simply feels bad,” the article says, citing research on the topic.
All of these theories also point to issues with design (Ray Ban and Oakley have gotten involved to up the cool factor). The Atlantic suggests a popular celebrity spokesperson could help.
A problem is finding a use for this in users’ lives. Now we can’t live without our mobile phones, but previously, there was nothing like it. Why do I need another pricey gadget? When I tried Google Glass last year, reps stressed the hands-free perk of it. But do you really mind looking at your cool, shiny smartphone and getting information? Not really. On the other hand, I felt like I had to re-orient my eyes in order to wear Glass. Rather than looking in front of me, my eyes drifted to the upper right corner where Glass posts instructions. And it’s a device that’s on your face. It literally changes the way you see and how the world sees you. That might be a leap too far.