Google’s Project Glass is compelling, but I can’t see it becoming an actual product. The point-of-view concept video features a young man wearing Internet-enabled glasses with an integrated heads up display. He goes about his day while responding to alerts, creating reminders, taking photos and more all from his glasses.
This is nothing I’d ever want to do.
Distraction as feature
Today, my iPhone offers an almost constant connection to the digital world. Alerts of all sorts ding, buzz and chirp all day long. It’s annoying. Which is why I ask, why would I want those alerts to be literally in my face? I can avoid looking at my iPhone. I can’t ignore every little blip that appears inches from my eye. That’s not a feature. It’s an annoyance.
The video makes this painfully clear. The poor guy can’t even look out the window without seeing five little icons.
Or drink a coffee or eat a sandwich. It’s even better when he’s walking around in public. At one point, his glasses tell him that the subway isn’t running. No problem, he can pull up a map to find a waking route. Note how the map commandeers almost his entire visual field. Good thing the sidewalk is deserted, as city sidewalks often are in the morning!
I can imagine what could happen if he receives an alert while crossing the street. “Oh, I’ve walked into a Buick! How do I blink ‘A-M-B-U-L-A-N-C-E?'”
At last he arrives at the bookstore to rendezvous with his hipster friend, and we find that our hero has become so technology-dependent the he can’t even navigate a bookstore without assistance. “Where’s the music section?” he asks. Really? You can’t move from one section of a book store to another without help from Google?
As the day ends, he photographs a mural. That’s cool. Still, I suspect the real-world experience would be like this:
Where is your attention?
It’s neat, but I have to wonder: is he even paying attention to his surroundings? Does he really notice that cute dog, or is he weighing its share-ability? I understand the benefits of ubiquitous connection, but I’d rather review alerts when I’m ready to. I don’t want them thrust into my eyes all day long. It’s neat, but no.