There’s a funny emotion that happens when you pass the threshold of theoretical into possible; it’s called confusion.
I must start this story with a special thanks to a number of you who helped with my “Get Google Glass” campaign. You helped me raise enough money to help me buy Google Glass.
For months, I anguished — that’s probably too exaggerative — about not having Google Glass. A seemingly large number of people I follow on Twitter and Google+ have Glass, which made me want the product even more. Not having some awesome piece of tech made the desire to have the device even greater — the shiny object dangled before my face.
Then an unimaginable event occurred; I could actually afford to buy Glass and I had the opportunity to buy them.
Unfortunately, at least for me, when can appears at the party he sometimes introduces me to sensibility, his despicable playmate. Shortly after I reached my funding goal, I started “ho-humming” and “ho-hawing” about whether I should spend the money on Google Glass.
Of course, after plaguing my social media feeds with “assistance reminders,” you’d think I would eagerly enter my invite code on the Glass site and press “send me my Glass.” But, I didn’t. I thought, and thinking can get you in trouble.
What does Glass do for me now?
One of my first considerations for any new tech is the practical applicability for me now. Because
I’m a guy and like instant gratification I want my tech to have real-world, instant applicability, I wanted to make sure Glass could do what I want or need it to, today.
Thus, in my quest to discover kickass ways I could use Glass, I was unequivocally disappointed.
Glass simply can’t, and probably, to be more specific, won’t for a very long time — at least until Google releases the device for consumer use, or developers get on-board with some killer apps — be more useful than my smartphone and tablet.
What I discovered, is that “normal people” use Glass to record concerts (I’m short and couldn’t see over all the tall people), track exercise (I don’t), or read the news (I use Google News). I even discovered that “normal people” will use Glass to avoid being the target of a mugging. Excuse me? A $1,500 exclusive piece of tech equipment will help me avoid being a mugging target? Let’s get back to reality.
The most practical advice was in educational situations, where I could provide some “how to” help for a remote viewer. For instance, I could actually show you what button I’m pushing as we perform our Google Helpout. I also see some benefits from Glass apps like YourShow or Glassentation, which will feed you cue cards for presentations.
Of course, that presumes I make a lot of presentations, and I want to wear Glass while I make them.
Mitch Jackson is an ardent supporter and advocate for Google Glass, and he has some fantastic ideas for how he’ll use Glass. He even held a Glass users meetup of sorts via Spreecast to discuss Glass. Sam Glover criticized the event, but notes one of my biggest hangups: possibly Glass’s best feature is its ability to break the ice and create networking opportunities. If that’s the case, then Glass might just be a lawyer’s most expensive marketing investment with little or no proven ROI. Glass is novel for most people, so naturally there’s a large contingent who will want to experiment. However, I’m not sure novelty justifies the expense.
There’s always networking
Making my decision to ditch Glass, at least for now, wasn’t easy. I stared at this screen for probably an hour.
Google Glass, for all of its glitzy fashion, just doesn’t produce the effects I want. Eventually, Glass will see a price drop, somewhere in the realm of $500. That’s probably a realistic price point for a general consumer product.
Perhaps the 2nd or 3rd generation of Google Glass will fix or improve many of the primary issues, and I’m certain we’ll see more changes that will improve the use. Ultimately, I’m looking for a wearable device that seamlessly compliments my other mobile devices. I’m also looking for something that’s more than a $1000 conversation starter.
Of course, Glass would add some legitimacy to my status as a tech blogger — I’d be at the forefront of “tech savviness” — which naturally boosts my “street cred.”
But the fact is, most of my readers, lawyers, aren’t early adopters. In fact, many readers are late, or more appropriately, last adopters, more concerned about the tech they have now, rather than some futuristic device. That’s just one more reason I didn’t get Glass.
I appreciate everyone who supported my funding campaign, and perhaps you’ll levy the same support for my next futuristic tech device. If you contributed funds, you should see a return within the next few days. I have to press “refund” and a bunch of confirmations about 30 or so times. Needless to say, that might take a bit.
Edit: I’m seeing a lot of pingbacks and links to this post showcasing my “skepticism” for the value of Glass. Please know that I am not skeptical about the value of Glass for lawyers. Glass will become truly exceptional and valuable once it has mass-market access. I can imagine a number of valuable uses for Google Glass.
However, Glass is not at the stage where it’s more valuable than a tablet or smartphone. Thus, my decision not to get Glass now. I’d rather purchase the latest and greatest tablet — probably a Nexus 10 2014 edition — that gives me an immediate return than wait for months (years?) for Glass to provide the same return. My decision is purely an economic productivity decision and not a value decision.