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While many people believe that wearable tech (such as Google Glass) will provide the tipping point that leads us into the “age of context,” Google’s attempt at iPhone-type revolutionary technology is still ramping up slowly and having a hard time finding a foothold within the consumer demographic which it needs the most to succeed.
OK, Glass! Updates About Google
-Kate Kotler, Writer
March 7, 2014
While many people believe that wearable tech (such as Google Glass)
will provide the tipping point that leads us into the “age of context,” Google’s
attempt at iPhone-type revolutionary technology is still ramping up slowly
and having a hard time ﬁnding a foothold within the consumer demographic
which it needs the most to succeed.
To date, the cutting edge technology, championed by such celebrities
as Neil Patrick Harris, Kevin Smith and Alyssa Milano is still only in the hands
of a few thousand members of the Google Glass “Explorers” program and
the price point has not dropped from $1,500/pair (plus, tax).
Despite this, the tech industry and beyond are still reacting at both
ends of the pro/anti Glass spectrum in anticipation of the more widespread
release of the tech… someday. But, reviews and reports are mostly negative:
• In December, SlashGear reported that Google would be rolling out
prescription lenses and customized frames in an eﬀort to appeal to a
broader demographic of (fashion conscious, optically challenged)
consumers in “a few weeks” due to a partnership with Rochester Optical.
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• Actually, the rollout took more like a few months, but, CNN reported just this past week that Google ﬁnally debuted those
chicer frames and prescription lenses this past Tuesday. Frames are reported to be at a price point of $225, with sunglass
options at $150. Prescription lenses will cost what prescription lenses tend to cost… AND, no drop in the tech price, as the
Glass hardware is holding ﬁrm at $1,500 + tax. And, you still have to “apply” to be invited to purchase Glass. Not so good for
the democratization of the tech, as despite the new frames and lenses, Glass is still out of reach -ﬁnancially speaking- for the
majority of consumers.
• Journalists are having mixed reactions to Google Glass: In December, Jack Aaronson of ClickZ reported that the Glass was
either half empty, or half full – it’s hard to tell. According to Aaronson, there are so few applications for Glass at the the present
time that it’s diﬃcult to pinpoint what the actual use of the device is. Aaronson says that the Navigation tool is really the only
helpful aspect of Glass, but that it’s so distracting to use while walking or driving that it negates its’ functionality. Similarly,
C.W. Nevius (a tech reporter for the SF Gate who participated in the “Google for Media” summit recently held in the Bay Area),
says that while Glass *could be* useful, it is massively distracting and causing “Glass paranoia” in San Francisco.
• To wit, Sarah Slocum -a Glass Explorer and SF tech ﬂack- was verbally and PHYSICALLY attacked in a bar because she was
wearing the device. (She was also robbed of her purse and cellphone, so it is feasible that the Glass aspect of the mugging
was overplayed by the media — Molotov’s is a pretty notoriously dive-y Lower Haight bar with a mixed patronage, it’s as
common to see gutter punks and homeless in that bar as it is to see hipsters or professionals…)
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• Glass Paranoia is not restricted to SF, as many have expressed deep concerns about how Glass will aﬀect individual
privacy. A user was dragged out of a movie theater under suspicion that he was illegally recording the movie, police
wearing glass have been accused of using the device to proﬁle on the sly and more and more establishments are banning
the device – including sporting venues, gyms (for use in the locker room, natch), hospitals, classrooms and strip clubs.
• The number one place Glass has been banned (and most impactful, IOHO) is behind the wheel of a car. Illinois is amongst
several states that have already ﬁled legislation to restrict the use of Google Glass while driving, thinking that it will be as
dangerous as using a handset not on handsfree mode… it’s a pretty safe assumption that is a true fact.
So, what does all this mean for Google Glass? We’re not sure, but as Robert Scoble and Shel Israel point out in The Age of
Context, there is likely to be serious push-back against wearable tech before it is embraced by the wider public. It will be
interesting to watch what happens next with Google Glass…
~Kate Kotler, Writer
Mobile Marketing Agency