Feb 23, 2012

Google glasses; cool new thing or the worst gadget ever?

Ok, I admit to getting sidetracked this morning at work reading about those spiffy new Google glasses. Boss, if you read this, um, I already finished the TPS Report. I see the new Google glasses as the kind of really cool thing that I'd like for myself, but at the same time I am not so sure everyone running around with them is necessarily great. Kinda like I feel about an M1A1 Abrams. Yeah, yeah, hypocritical, but there you go. I like the idea of being able to read, say, ITWorld, when I've been dragged into a boring conversation, but the idea of others reading or watching Netflix while engaged in a stimulating, intelligent chat with me, well, that is not as appealing.

I could see glasses with a HUD as being very useful. Think about navigating through a strange city and having directions and maps seemingly floating in space in front of you as you drive, not requiring you to look away to search for a device. Or facts about things you are looking at popping up as you travel. Or a schematic popping up as you work. Or a service manual being instantly accessible while you are working on a problematic piece of hardware. Things like that seem great.

What do you think? Are these glasses going to be something that changes how we interact with our environment, or are they going to create a barrier between the individual and the wider world?

A lot of the details are unclear, such as will there be cellular connectivity in the glasses (probably, I'd guess). How will the interface work? Will people look like Max Headroom, shaking their heads in weird and rapid movements to interface with the device? It will be interesting to see what the final product is actually like.

I've driven cars with HUDs before. Some Corvettes have HUD, and it is pretty cool. After a while you just get used to the tach and speedometer "floating" in mid-air in your line of sight. It almost seems like you just know the information once you stop looking at it and start automatically seeing it in your line of sight. I assume that it would be the same after a while with the HUD glasses.

I look forward to checking these things out. It may take a while for them to transition from neato gizmo to well realized tool. It will be interesting to see what uses are found for the technology.
I haven't used them yet, obviously. But I'm open to the idea if they can implement it in a way that actually works well for daily use. If it's something that is just a gimmick then I think people will tire of it quickly and it won't survive in the market.

But it has the potential to be useful, so I think perhaps we should wait and see what comes of it. Maybe it will take a few revisions before they actually get to the point where they'd be of use to most people.

We'll see.
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