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A trial run with Google Glass

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by John C. Dvorak, 11 May 2013Blog
A trial run with Google Glass

Not long ago I called Google Glass a world-class hoax – though by “hoax” I never claimed that they wouldn't be manufactured. After trying them on for myself I can defend my initial theory even more fervently.

A fellow tech writer let me have a go with his pair. He showed me how to use them while essentially apologising for being a nerd and liking the glasses. He called them the ultimate "nerd toy" and for that reason I'll abstain from naming the writer outright. He said they are handy when roaming New York.

I found the device to be remarkable for displaying an incredibly sharp image an inch from my eyeball. Unfortunately the image was mainly a digital clock. Apparently, you can also look at the photos you take with the glasses. I did not see any sort of useful application and felt myself looking at the glasses too much. To me they seem hazardous.

No wonder Sergey Brin was spotted wearing Glass on the New York subway. It wasn't a publicity stunt, he was just so distracted by the glasses that he could not find his limo and stumbled onto the subway.

In an honest article entitled “Google Glass hands-on: This isn't and never will be a good device for consumers,” VentureBeat's Jolie O'Dell writes:

“…the device only serves to make us look awfully nerdy, to make us economic targets, to make us less aware of the world around us, and to leave us more disconnected than ever from the real people we encounter every day…The device was (and is) a gift to my now-husband. He loves it.”

“But even he, the tech-obsessed gadget fiend, admits it's difficult to wear. The first time he set foot outside the house with it on, he immediately stepped in dog sh*t because he wasn't paying attention to the world outside the screen. And he adamantly refuses to wear it on public transportation for fear of being mugged.”

She goes on to say that these are not for normal people and I'd agree, especially at $1,500 (£970) a pop as the pre-release versions are over in the States. But her important point, I think, is that these are anti-social. It was bad enough when people started plugging into iPods instead of enjoying the natural sounds around them. And now, if they aren't listening to garbage, they are texting non-stop or yakking on the phone. I think the turn-by-turn navigation apps and even those that direct you to your car in a parking lot are necessary because people have become so divorced from reality they cannot find their way to their home or vehicle.

Who knows what these glasses will breed. Maybe a class of mad zombies bumping into parking meters down the street. And forget about trying to drive with these things.

The possibilities are terrifying and the madness of it all only convinces me further that this is a hoax. If I'm wrong and everyone starts to believe Glass is actually cool, I fear for the world.

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