22 May

Sergey Brin: Why Google Glass?

Last time I wanted to talk about Google glass and was distracted by hard core yo-yoing.  After some time and thought, it’s still a great topic to talk about because it showcases that we are on the cusp of another social update.  Wearable computers, technology, or whatever it will be called, it’s safe to say that Google Glass will be part of that evolving new standard.

First off, a TED Talk regardingit Google Glass:


Sergey Brin: Why Google Glass?


Length: 7 minutes, 15 seconds

Speaker: Sergey Brin

Number of Views so far: 205,422

If you take away the demo video, it’s a very brief talk.  Brin doesn’t go over any technical specs nor does he cover pricing, release details or even that much of the development.  However, Brin does speak about the head down ‘zombie’ that people have become thanks to mobile technologies and the demo speaks quite heavily of what Google Glass is about.

And so, let’s break it out with Five ways Google Glass might change the world.

1. Google Glass will free it’s target audience.

Or so it implies in the demo video.  Google glass isn’t about a bunch of office workers staring at each other from their cubicles, it is about people enjoying life and taking part IN that experience.  For one, the head mounted Point Of View camera shows not spectators but actual athletes and explorers sharing their exhilarating moments, moments of wonder, and moments that any normal person would want to share.

And that also pinpoints Google Glass’ target audience.  Individuals willing to break in a new technology have to be people that are willing to express themselves openly.  To use the phrase, ‘people are willing to brag that they’re using Google Glass’ is a very crass term, but making your audience self identified spokespersons is a great way to get a product mainstream.

The Apple iPhone, went through a similar training of the customer, by opening up their applications to any developer, the number of ways an iPhone can be enjoyed jumped accordingly.

However, Google glass is not simply about recording video, as deemed by it’s online ‘Getting Started’ video. 

(Hey, did you notice that they used the same user profile pictures that were in the demo?)

2. Google Glass will become a substitute for.. Everything.

Not in the first generation.  Currently Google Glass needs to be tethered to a smart phone and has less functionalities than a smart phone.   And maybe not in the fifth generation of Glass, but if someone was to offer me a television that I could bring to bed and watch without having to ‘hold it’, then we’re on to something.

And not just a television, but any video you can stream, or a video game that you could play.   Suddenly Glass and portable computing starts taking bigger strides.  My cellphone is arguably more powerful than my desktop computer and it wouldn’t be a surprise to me that in a couple of years, so will wearable technologies.

I must point out that these ideas are not ‘replacements’ for current technologies.  Entertainment IS still a shared experience at it’s finest.  We want big televisions, go to movie theaters, play MMOs, not just for ourselves but also (sometimes inadvertently) to have other people commonly share these experiences.

Nonetheless, I’ve already read reviews regarding Google Glass that talks about how testers were not impressed with the Google Glass’ battery life of only five hours.  People are ‘not’ using these for a couple hours and putting them down; they have integrated the technology in their lives very quickly.  (And Facebook isn’t officially on it yet)

And it makes sense, why power up my desktop/monitor/wifi in the attic when I can simply Google something right away with something that I have ON MY FACE.  It won’t be too long before I ‘could’ do ALL of my work on a handheld mobile device, and that easily could also be worn on my body.

However, looking forward, there are MANY applications that haven’t been mentioned yet but are slightly hinted at.   Video that was taken with GG was all ‘equivalent to natural vision’, but what if it was telescopic?  Why, that’s a neat little instant telescope.  Or vice versa, and we have a magnifying glass, or even more common, a set of reading glasses.  

Using camera to ‘glass’, to simulate prescriptions glasses, is that possible?  Why wouldn’t that be a natural replacement for glasses if everyone had their own manual adjust?  (Or it could be measured by examining our own eyes)  And in working terms, there is practical situations.  Based on the demo video, it is possible to record a video of my hands operating a crane lift WHILE I watch a video about using crane lifts and having the foreman on a call/monitoring the load?    (My original thought bubble was to use a porn example but there are more creative people than I out there)

The experience might technically remain to the individual, but there are many possibilities.

3.  Wearable Technology is already Here

And I’m not talking about cellphones in pockets or smart watches (which by the way look quite fascinating).  It’s just that everything Google Glass is doing, has already been done.

And I don’t just mean that you could use a Smartphone to surf the internet and stream light video.  One of the biggest selling points of GG is the fact you can record with your glasses.

Video camera mounted glasses, are already available for purchase today:

Aviwear doesn’t provide a viewscreen but the ability record everything that you’re doing while listening to your favorite music or making phone calls are there.

So the Genie IS out of the bottle.  Even if Google Glass is a complete failure at entering the marketplace, similar technologies are already being adapted for use by OTHER computers.

I could talk about how portable screens worn on glasses has been around since.. forever.  However that road will eventually lead to the game system Virtual Boy.


4. Is Google Glass for everyone?

Well, much like the automated self driving cars, what’s the bottom line?  Cost.  And according to Google Glass’ original test kits, that dollar value comes out to about fifteen hundred dollars.  (I can’t seem to find the original links, so this will have to be based on my word) 

Ah, here we are:$1500/

And at $1,500, that’s a top of the line desk top computer or one really large flatscreen television.  In other words, GG is aimed at one wealthy crowd.  (Looks like I won’t be able to afford one until generation 4 comes out and the first generation versions are up for resale)

This of course, makes perfect sense for breaking in a new technology.  It will also hopefully buy some time before they possibly become completely mainstream and issues like ‘private space’ (can you wear these in a movie theater where it’d be easy to record), ‘information regulating’ (can you wear these while writing an exam or during a poker game), or ‘social distraction’ norms are indentified / solidified.  I know people who have trouble listening to someone talk and drive.  Wearing these things while doing anything else requires a level of multitasking that some people might not have.  Do you regulate for the percentage that can’t multitask? 

5. Technology is the new Food

I don’t mean one should be ingesting technology or that people will have a ‘Google pill’ that you swallow.  (Although an over the counter version would be really really cool)  However, the way technology is recognized by society is very much like eating food.

There are two kinds of meals, the meal you ‘savor’ versus the ‘just get me there already’ meal.  Often people will confuse these meals with ‘expensive and ritzy’ versus ‘fast and cheap’ but that isn’t true, it’s more about presentation and the user experience.

I should also mention that this is in regards to how technology is marketed (and as a quick reminder that this is about a TED Talk, Brin does exactly what is needed to make people want to learn more about Google Glass).

As for the tech = food part.  What makes a meal savory?  This is a plate where the sauce is a ‘drizzle’ and some parts have it, while other parts don’t.  Food is better, when there is a blend of differences that occur.  Some people like to pile cheese upon every nacho that they eat but it’s actually better to eat a couple nachos that have NO cheese every few bites.  It makes the experience of when you strike cheese THAT MUCH BETTER.  It is the savoring of each bite in its uniqueness.

On the other hand, there are the ‘just get me there’ meals.  Where there is so much ketchup and mustard that each bite, pretty much tastes exactly the same.  You only get an hour for lunch, so let’s not have any surprises ok?  There is nothing wrong with this experience, it’s a what you want is what you get experience and there’s no sense slowing down in the middle of it. 

For instance, take the average internet commercial.  These are generally directed to people who ‘don’t understand the internet’ and thus ‘difference of speed = better experience’.  However, it really is a ‘does my end point work’ yes/no situation, and as long as you’ve got your MMO or website functioning, that’s all that matters.  There’s no ‘differences’ to really savor, in the long term. 

Where does Google Glass fit?  It’s exactly where it needs to be as a high end meal that has an experience that is different enough to be savored (until it’s commonplace). 

The real question is, how long will it be before wearable technologies become as common as fastfood burgers?

Let me Google that for you.

(And maybe share it too)


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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


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