OK, Maybe we jumped the gun on the whole Google Glass thing

Wednesday, February 05, 2014 - 10:32 AM


Last week, PJ wrote an excellent article comparing early aesthetic critiques of Google Glass to those of the Sony's Walkman. The point was that all technology looks ridiculous and impractical until it becomes useful, and then it's basically indespensible. But cartoonist and journalist Susie Cagle pointed out on her Twitter feed that early Glass adopters may not be finding them all that useful.

Google Glass isn't currently widely available. To get one, you have to put your name on a list and get an invite from the company. You would think that demand would vastly outweigh supply in that circumstance, but Cagle noted that you can find a ton of pairs of Google Glass on San Francisco's Craigslist for less than the market cost.

Even more surprisingly, CUNY journalism professor and Google fan Jeff Jarvis tweeted yesterday that he was fed up with Glass. I reached him by phone this morning to find out exactly why he hated them so much and he said that they were simply poorly designed and the user interface just wasn't quite there yet.

"It cost $1500 for Glass," Jarvis told me. "They offer a free exchange for the new version [which includes prescription lenses]. It's in this gigantic case that requires me to walk around with basically a briefcase to wear them. They're not bendable, they spike into my head. My lenses are going to cost $250-$300. It's the waste of it that struck me. It's a neat concept, but it's the final straw of seeing how useless these frames are.

"I just hit an overload of impracticality," says Jarvis. "I live la vida Google. I'm an admirer of Google. But it needs to move past Beta to a heavy dose of market practicality."

Jarvis sees Google Glass as a noble failure, something that will precede a much better and more useful technology. "Glass is to whatever follows what the Newton is to the smart phone."

So, while PJ compared Glass to the Walkman last week, perhaps a more apt comparison would be the 8-track player.


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Comments [8]

Felix from New York

The technology isn't going away, it's going to get better, and I'm sure it's going to become useful in a large number of professions.

But I hope we're not going to all be walking around like that in 20 years. The idea is genuinely frightning.

Mar. 26 2014 12:39 PM
John S from NYC

It could be a replay of the Segway which was going to "redefine transportation as we know it". fizzle.........

Mar. 12 2014 08:30 AM

Eric schidmt NPR funding
Google Glass
how much do they get paid to write this? Where do I sign up?
Current Status: banging the New American whore **cough* journalist *cough**

Mar. 11 2014 01:43 AM
Zach from AK


I hate to say it, but aren't those called contact lenses?

Feb. 25 2014 02:56 PM
ceolaf from New Haven

The walkman and headphone is NOT appropriate analogy.

You see, poeple could always take off the headphone. You could tell if someone was using them, and if you were engaged in a serious conversation with them, people naturally took them off (i.e., in order to hear the conversation better).

but you can’t take off Google Glass if it is attached to your glasses.

Feb. 05 2014 08:43 PM
Mason D. from Chicago, IL, USA

Fermata, they have those. They're called pince-nez. You might know them from Morpheus in the Matrix. Dunno why they fell out of favor so hard.

Feb. 05 2014 03:10 PM
Dr. Omed from Louisville, Kentucky

The question is not whether Glass is useful or not. The question is to whom or what is it useful. Plenty useful for Google in pursuit of commercial hegemony, and the suveillance economy in general; not so useful for the user, evidently.

Feb. 05 2014 01:09 PM

You know what would be the biggest innovation in eyeglasses? A pair that lets me lie on my side to watch TV without the arm digging into my head or risking damage. Call me when they've developed those.

Feb. 05 2014 12:52 PM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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