The Washington Post

Google Project Glass: Cool or creepy?

Google’s Project Glass — a pair of augmented-reality glasses that allows you to navigate the Web through your field of vision — has made its online debut, and the overall reaction is: Awesome. I think.

The question mark comes from our collective uncertainty over the “Minority Report”-like implications of a pair of glasses that bring computing closer to your retinas. After the company released a video demonstrating the potential of the glasses for planning your day and navigating a city, hands-free, the “I want that” tweets started to roll in just as quickly as the “Wow, he looks like a cyborg” tweets appeared. We are uncertain about the implications of these Google glasses for our future, but we know for sure they are cool.

Reactions were as follows:


While many tech blogs resisted the urge to gush about the glasses, Twitter users demonstrated no such restraint. Neither did Chris Davies of Slashgear, who write: “Project Glass has opened my eyes and my wallet: Google, please, come help yourself to my credit card. The much-rumored wearable augmented reality system has emerged from the Google[x] skunkworks and it’s even more than we hoped for.”

Okay this Google Glasses video just completely blew my mind. Here comes the future??

— Jeremy Cowart (@jeremycowart) April 4, 2012

Will you buy Google’s new augmented reality glasses? If so, jump in line with me. No front-cuts, though: #ar

— Kevin Preis (@kevinpreis) March 30, 2012

Those are so distracting/that guy is going to get hit by a car:

Watching Google’s tester navigate the streets of New York while using his glasses, with alerts and directions constantly popping into his field of vision, readers wondered: Isn’t this kind of dangerous? If we can’t use phones while we drive in many states, wouldn’t these glasses be worse?

The New York Times says that the glasses are actually less distracting — “One person who had used the glasses said: ‘They let technology get out of your way. If I want to take a picture I don’t have to reach into my pocket and take out my phone; I just press a button at the top of the glasses and that’s it.’ — but people are skeptical. One comedian even made a parody of the Project Glass demo video, with the glasses-wearer crashing into things (contains strong language).

Doesn’t this mean that we will see ads all the time now?

Advertisements aren’t shown in the promo video, but one imagines that any Google product will have advertising. Potential customers are wondering how the ads will be integrated into the Project Glass experience. CNET envisions that the glasses will make it easier to sell you things, as local retailers could potentially have coupons for their businesses flash by your glasses as you walk by their stores. Google Coupons, which hasn’t gained much traction yet, will certainly benefit, notes PC World. You could shop online and in stores at the same time. Via Photoshop, one reader imagined the view from the glasses with ads.

Oh right...their customers are advertisers... RT @ultragrrrl Google glasses reality

— Mason Flint (@masonfl) April 5, 2012

Doesn’t this mean that we’re only a few years away from having a USB port installed in our brains at birth?

The Google glasses will be a font of paranoia for those who are already wary of online privacy and surveillance. When your glasses can see what you see, how vulnerable could you be?

“Without having tried a prototype on ourselves, they seem as though they would be vaguely intrusive if not downright creepy,” the Guardian wrote. Rebecca Rosen of the Atlantic notes that people could be recorded on someone’s Google glasses without even knowing it.

Those glasses are dorky:

A photo of a woman wearing a prototype design of Google's glasses. (Google)

Still, the New York Times reports that there are other types of frames that are in the works — so perhaps some of them will match the Buddy Holly plastic frame look that is currently popular in eyewear fashion. Putting the glasses on shirtless models certainly doesn’t hurt.

I want those Google Glasses so badly, but I also want to date women.Choices.

— Josh Helfferich (@Digeratii) April 4, 2012

Google Glasses: Like a handsfree Segway for your face!

— Adam Lisagor (@lonelysandwich) April 4, 2012

Google Plus is dorky:

The Project Glass model in the video is shown sharing things with his Google Plus circles, but the social network is still derided for being lesser than Facebook. Critics weren’t sure if even the novelty of the glasses could make Google Plus cool.

The Google Project Glass concept video is totally unrealistic because it shows someone sharing on Google+.…

— Kevin Cheng (@k) April 4, 2012

View Photo Gallery: Project Glass, the section of Google’s highly secretive Google X offices, released these photos as well as a YouTube video on Google+ on Wednesday previewing the long-rumored glasses.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.


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