For an unreleased product whose initial price point (and utility?) remains a disconnect for most people, Google Glass (via Google+ and Twitter) certainly has garnered a boffo share of media attention – good, bad and geeky.
In Sunday’s New York Times, two professors examine a new dimension of the Google Glass phenomenon: the dangers that real-time digital distraction to one’s vision might pose in the conduct of our everyday lives. Daniel J. Simons and Christopher F. Chabris wrote in a piece titled “Is Google Glass Dangerous:”
“Nonetheless, most agree that a smartphone-linked display and camera placed in the corner of your vision is intriguing and potentially revolutionary — and like us, they want to try it. But Glass may inadvertently disrupt a crucial cognitive capacity, with potentially dangerous consequences.”
Google co-founder Sergey Brin offers a more nuanced defense of his pathbreaking product from a company known to break many paths:
“In an impromptu TED talk and interview in March, Google co-founder Sergey Brin described a motivation for the new product. ‘We questioned whether you should be walking around looking down’ at a smartphone, he said. Instead, the company’s designers asked, ‘Can we make something that frees your hands’ and ‘frees your eyes?’”
Until now, the debate pretty much has focused on Google Glass’s overall usefulness and its sales potential. The initial price tag of $1500 works fine for the Tesla-driving digerati in Silicon Valley, but less so for the Warby Parker-wearing hipsters in Williamsburg.
I had a chance to catch up with one of Google Glass’s most enthusiastic ambassadors in New York City this week as part of Internet Week. Robert Scoble, (aka Scobelizer), inadvertently did more than any other tech influencer to put Google Glass on the map. He wore his in the shower (much to Google CEO Larry Page‘s chagrin, he later admitted.) That picture went viral big time.
Scoble stopped by the Alley NYC offices of WPP-owned digital agency Possible to talk about the new “Age of Context” and a future comprised of hyper-anticipatory and personalized services, i.e.,
“Imagine a world where your broken washing machine books a repair appointment by looking at your calendar’s availability, where you are reminded to purchase a gift for your mother’s birthday as you approach a flower shop or where a restaurant is booked for your business lunch to fit with your client’s latest diet.”
Mr. Scoble envisions a world of sensors and real-time personalized data streamed (via your Google Glass) to not only make your work and personal lives more productive, but to give you a competitive edge in each. In fact, he and his “Naked Conversations” co-author Shel Israel are penning a new tome titled “The Age of Context” on this very subject.
Here are some notable quotables from Mr. Scoble’s preso last week:
“On me right now, I have 20 sensors…”
“This product (@projectglass) is only serving me. It knows my stocks, my sports, etc”
“Google Now anticipates the needs I have before I even ask.”
“Companies are all going to be ‘Uber-ized’ with inventory, customer data in real-time”
“I expect augmented reality is going to come back. @projectglass chose AR light given its short battery life.”
“If you keep Google Glass on all the time, you have about an hour or two of battery life”
“Google Glass lets me take a pic, video, send text, RT, get awesome directions, phone calls”
“I’ve taken 1500 photos with my Google Glass”
“Google Glass feels like the APPLE II. It’s a 20-year journey.”
“My wife makes me take off my @projectglass in one place.”
I also had a chance to grab some video with Mr. Scoble in which he talks about how he manages his overflowing inbox (much of which is PR spam), and shares what devices he currently had on his person:
As for Glass’s prospects, this week CNN, Tumblr, Elle, Twitter, Facebook and others climbed onto the Glass bandwagon with new platform-specific apps. As for me, I’ll wait for Warby Parker to introduce a Google Glass-infused pair of affordable specs!