My reflections of the Glass

After trying out Google Glass for a couple of days my biggest impression is that it made me think and gave me some new angles on gadgets. And I think this is the whole purpose from Google. 

First of all - the biggest problem with the current form factor is that you look completely crazy. Not only are you looking upwards, focussing your eye really far, talking to yourself (and repeating your barking commands hoping that this time it will just work and you don’t have to ask again), tapping your temple (or maybe the glasses), most of all you seem less present. And you are. Most of these issues will just disappear over time - voice recognition will improve, screens will be possible to get in regular glasses (or contacts) and you will adapt and learn both the gestures and the voice commands. As for being non-present - look around - it won’t be much worse than where we are already.

Secondly - Google Glass is an experience, but I promise you that your surroundings will get one (and maybe even bigger) too. You will start telling everyone what you see, read, and can do (“Wow - I just happened to trigger something and got the wikipedia article about killer whales”). Some people will ask “Are you recording this” and everyone will wonder if you are actually listening at all. This latter problem is kind of funny because this is how I remember some of my older relatives - in their minds - they could actually think without a technical accessory. So they could wander the minds eye without you knowing, whereas we today are either staring at a screen, zoned out, or present - it is a lot easier to see. The art of thinking on your own (and not search impressions) disappeared as culture got packaged and bitesize served.

Lastly - you see opportunity - I think we must re-set our mind to what Google Glass is. It is NOT a smartphone mounted to your eye with voice commands. Of course actually it is, but that would be analogue with explaining a smartphone as an internet connected laptop the size of your palm. With new form factors come new use cases. Taking pictures all the time, writing email in the restroom, watching movies on the bus - all of these things were possible with your laptop ten years ago, but not nearly as widespread as with smartphones today. Soon pictures will be taken every time you feel awe or say “wow”…

So - what opportunities are we talking about? The first thing that struck me was that when you call people with video you see them and they see what you are looking at. This feels really awkward at first - if you think of it as “regular” video calling - but rethink. You can now call your plumber or attend your cooking class and have someone walk you through the steps and you can carry it out with you “visual handsfree”. There might be a whole new generation of “remote handymen” and think of professional applications - think doctors, construction workers, dentists, golfers, etc. Secondly the use case that we have seen again and again is the ability to take pictures and videos even more frequent and spontaneously that with mobile phones. So get ready to upgrade your Google Drive/iCloud/Dropbox account and think about the opportunities to create companies that structure, search, and overview the explosion of data that will be captured.