This post was written when I was a child, I’m only keeping it here for archival purposes. All of these words should be only taken in context.
About 3 years ago I received a CR-48 in the mail. The device itself was a sleek black little box, with sub par components internally. The idea of the device was a moonshot: “If all people do is use a browser, then why do we not make the entire operating system the browser?” Novel in approach, yet flawed in practice. The whole entire idea that everything could fit into the browser was at the very least, 5 years off. Or so the critics said.
Chromebooks have had massive iterations since the CR-48, yet the premise remains the same. The product was flawed initially due to the fact that the browser meant Chrome to Google, when in the current iteration the browser can be anything. Google has taken steps to remove the OS from Chrome, while retaining the weby-ness of it. Applications will run outside of the browser now bridging the full power of web and native. Or so Google hopes.
Google Glass in this regard, is very much like the initial Chromebook. It is a somewhat attractive, yet inadequate looking device with the internals of last years Android phone. It hasn’t exactly figured out what the proper UI paradigm should be1, yet there are signs of well thought out design littered around the system. The way to build applications is severely limited, due to political rather than technical reasons. Google is playing it safe with Glass, learning from their mistakes with Chrome OS2.
Glass is a highly controversial futuristic product, unsure of success. Just like Chromebooks and most recent Google products3. Glass is the first step in Google’s vision for the future, with information only being sent to one when one needs it, using the power of the cloud.
I think that Glass is the next “big” thing in technology, a product capable of being held next to the iPhones and iPads of the world. Unlike Chromebooks the product isn’t limited by nature, but by artificial limits imposed currently by Google. There are good reasons for these limits, such as battery life, but once Google figures that out, there is a world of opportunity awaiting. I say Glass is the next “hero” product due to a trend i’ve noticed recently: When devices are announced that cause amazement in people and we can only dream of the possibilities it brings, it tends to be a smashing hit.
With the Chromebook, one basically gets the idea that someone will make a RSS reader, word processor, and all the other types of desktop apps that we’ve come to expect in the 15+ years of the GUI. With Glass though, I can only fantasize about vague app ideas and that makes me excited. When you can only dream about what developers will do with a platform, I believe that platform has a chance of being the next big thing.
Whether or not one believes that Glass is actually going to be acceptable, the fact that we keep on talking about Glass is a testament to the potential of the product. Enthusiasm for Glass hasn’t faded, and people other than Robert Scoble4 cannot stop talking about it. People are even calling those who like the product, “glassholes!” This doesn’t happen for a product that is destined to fail.
The privacy concerns of Glass are an issue which is just played up by the media. To address some of these concerns, here is a list of mannerisms people in developed countries are generally taught while being brought up:
- You do not face your head at another ones private area while using the restroom.
- Eye contact is important during conversation.
- When someone has an irrational fear of something you own, you should do your best to explain it to them rationally.
- Other people have a right to their own space, even in public places.
I know it sounds crazy, but with clear and rational thinking, all of the privacy concerns with Glass are moot. It’s quite simple: Don’t be an idiot. People love to hype things up like the fact that there is a camera on your face at all times, but it takes explicit action on your part in order to actually begin recording5. The whole perception of Glass being creepy is mainly because it is made by Google, and even though they are one of the most transparent companies out there, people still have an innate cautiousness around them.
Glass isn’t a moonshot in the way that it will change the world like Project Loon, Glass is a moonshot in that it is the next step in technological progress. Google could fail with their first iteration of this product6, but it doesn’t really matter. If they door has been wide open for wearable technologies for the past year or so, then Glass signifies all of us being pushed through it. Whether it be on your face or on your wrist, the next step in computing isn’t in your hand.
- I’m looking at you trackpad. ↩
- And to a smaller extent, Android. ↩
- People have this idea of Android being a normal Google product in their head, and use it to compare to Glass when that isn’t the case at all. Android had no real beta period, and it isn’t very web appish, a stark contrast from the rest of Google. ↩
- I mention him because Scoble loves to talk about how the next startup will change the world. A lot. ↩
- The screen also lights on, showing a white light above the persons right eye. ↩
- I have yet to use Glass, and i’m not considering the Explorer edition to be the first iteration as it hasn’t been released on a wide scale yet. ↩