Google recently released a new video showing what looking through its wearable computer, Google Glass, would be like. Unfortunately, the only exciting thing we’ve seen about the device, now seemingly called Glass, so far are the social activities showcased in the video — sky diving, playing with a boa, flying planes upside-down — and not the ways Glass was used in conjunction with them.
First off, it’s important to note that the idea of wearable computers is awesome. The day we can put an app-filled contact lens over our eyeball and watch Netflix on the train, while onlookers think we’re wistfully staring off into the distance, will be a good day. Glass will likely be the first major consumer-targeted device that comes close to that goal, and that’s most likely why everyone seems so fascinated with it, but the features shown off so far are, in a word, boring.
In the recently released video, we can see Glass displaying a weather app, recording video, sending a voice-dictated email or text message, recording some more video, participating in a Google Hangout, displaying a clock, recording some more video, taking a picture, and also – wouldn’t you know it – recording even more video. See for yourself:
The most useful feature shown in the video, aside from the ability to always have a hands-free clock available, is displaying a maps app without having to pull your phone out of your pocket. Aside from seemingly having access to Google Translate, that’s about it – and how often do you find yourself needing a translator?
Now, that isn’t to say that Google doesn’t have mightily impressive features or apps it just hasn’t shown off yet, but that’s the thing: Nothing too impressive or desirable has been shown off yet. We’re frothing over the potential of Glass, not the current reality.
So far, all we know about Glass is that it’s far more expensive than a 128GB iPad, Surface Pro, or top-tier smartphone, and it can tell us the time and weather, record videos, and participate in Google Hangouts. At the moment, the device has a price tag of $1500 (£980).
Something else worth noting: Because the device is essentially a pair of glasses, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of keyboard (yet). That means you can’t use the device without talking to it – something that detracts from the feeling of a private, personal display, considering you have to announce everything you’re doing with it. Rumours suggest that the device will come with a little touchpad, but as mentioned above, the problem with Glass isn’t what it can or could do, but what is being shown off.
The device doesn’t even give us some sort of augmented reality overlay, as it’s simply a little video screen in our peripheral vision. Again, that doesn’t have to be bland, but Google needs to show us why.
Google has begun something of a contest, whereby if you use Twitter or Google+ with the hashtag #ifihadglass, and tell Google why you deserve one in 50 words or less, you could win the chance to buy Glass. However, only those in the US can apply – yet considering we already have highly advanced pocket computers that do much more than record video and tell us the weather, Google likely needs to convince Americans why they should cough up $1500 for a shot with Glass.
So far, Google Glass is like that girl at school who you have a crush on, but have never spoken to. In your head you’ve built her up to be amazing, based purely on the fact that you want her to be amazing. We’re looking forward to Glass, but so far, most of that is fuelled by our own tech fantasies rather than the current tech reality.