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Google’s Project Glass – I Can’t Think Of Anything More Awful

Project Glass

This is what you could be seeing one day

In what seemed like one of their usual April Fools pranks, Google recently announced Project Glass, a research and development programmed aimed at developing interactive online head-mounted displays. Yes, this is apparently what the future holds for us – the ability to look like a complete tit as you wander around wearing cybernetic spectacle frames muttering to yourself under your breath as you ignore everyone around you in a desperate attempt to impress your Twitter followers with a pointless status update. Personally I can’t think of anything more awful.

I can’t decide if it’s the physical implementation of it that I find so off-putting (bluetooth headsets are bad enough – do I really want to combine them with a pair of goggles that make Geordi La Forge look stylish?) or the fact that its taking technology to a previously unimaginably level of invasiveness. No longer will technology merely be a tool to aid us or make our lives more convenient but instead it will be an obtrusive necessity, shoved in faces whether we like it not. Literarily. Do I need what essentially equates to a voice-activated iPhone constantly hovering three inches in front of my eyes? I don’t think so.

I can see how it would appeal to some people though. Are you so unmotivated and lazy that you don’t even want to reach in and take your phone out your pocket in order to write a Facebook update? Then Project Glass is for you. Are your emails so incredibly exciting and important that you need a large flashing notification to appear in front of your eyes when you receive a new one regardless of the time or place? Project Glass is the answer. Are you so bored with your sex life that you want to read the latest Stephen King novel whilst making love? Well in that case I’d recommend the Dark Tower saga but Project Glass might also be a tad more convenient than taping a Kindle over your partner’s face.

Maybe I’m getting old, maybe I’m geting bitter but I want technology to enhance my life not distract me from the things that are important in it. Y’know, like real flesh and blood friends and family. I mean, even in the official Google Project Glass video the protagonist takes a moment to excuse himself from he friend he just met up with in order to check in at a little van that sells coffee and announce to world that he’s just arrived. As if anyone actually cares.

Also note that he did it psionically without speaking. One can only assume that unless Google have also invented Project Telepathy the final system will require this to be done via voice activation (resulting in plenty of awkward moments as your friends run up to you and shout the command “Facebook update: I’m a dick” into your headset). Oh, how I’m so looking forward to the day of witnessing person after person enter a coffee shop and utter the words “Check-in: Starbucks” to themselves.

Yes, this is what we can all look forward to in a few years – a future in which we won’t be able to tell the difference between a Project Glass user and a short-sighted schizophrenic.


Photo credit: eatmorecrisps

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Author: Gordon McLachlan

Gordon is uncomfortably good looking.


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  1. Justin April 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Yeah, I pretty much agree with all of this. The more “connected” we get digitally, I strongly believe the more disconnected we are going to become with “real life”. This will lead to more depression, anxiety and fear/anger with others.

    On a side note, can you imagine people wearing the Google Glasses while driving? I have no doubt people will do this. Scary!


    • Gordon April 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Yeah, mobile phones are dangerous enough – surely driving whilst having a HUD in front of your eyes is illegal? Just imagine how many accidents could be caused by unexpected emails popping in font of your eyes!

  2. Nick West April 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Part of me agrees that Google Glass feels like it could be really invasive, over the top, and just taking technology too far. Then the kid inside me is calling me an old fart who is falling behind with the times, which makes me wonder if my parents felt the same way about mobile phones, or my grandparents felt the same way about telephones, or my great grandparents about cars.

    All of these new technologies speed up how quickly we are able to do something, be it communicate, move about, or access information. Such technologies are very likely to change society, and change can certainly be good, but it can also be bad. Either way it seems like change scares those of us who are happy (content?) with how things are now. Or maybe it’s that delusion that things used to be better and life was more enjoyable in the past.

    The kid inside me is really excited to see what people do with this technology though. Maybe it’ll make my museum tour more informative, or maybe it’ll make the lines at the coffee shop move faster (can I order & pay from 2 blocks away and just pick up my coffee as I walk by?). Or maybe I want to remember the license plate of that guy who just ran me off the road, saying “take picture” seems easier than remember AKD43K2 to me.

    What will really freak people out about Google Glass is the camera and just how public everything is going to become. Will Google Glass be a serious crime deterrent? Where will we be able to hide when everyone around us can take a picture of (essentially) what they’re seeing and have it stored online in mere seconds?

    Overall, I think I’m more excited than I am worried or terrified about Google Glass. My inner kid is still mighty strong and kicking.

    • Gordon April 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Oh I totally get the coolness factor of Project Glass – that was my initial reaction too. Thing is, once you get past the gimicky, cool stage, you realise that it’s not really solving any essential problems or enhancing our lives vastly. In fact, it’s probably distracting us from the things that are important.

  3. chris field April 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I don’t want email updates from any device popping up in front of me, especially since most of my email is garbage. The thing that is nice about a smart phone is that it has all my data *when I am ready to look at at*. Google Glass looks like it will be pushing a lot of data in my face whenever I turn my head.

    I do look forward to the Augmented Reality-meets-Internet of Things event. Technology is cool! But one of the reasons I love the movie Brazil is because it is stuffed with the “real” implementation of technology. Very little of it is the glossy, smooth silicon, white commercial device that makes life so much easier. Most of it is haphazard B versions with aftermarket add-ons thoughtlessly incorporated. The result is a world of goofy-looking technologies which kind of work but are mostly crappy and invasive.

    I think Augmented Reality googles will be just that sort of device. If you get the most expensive, name-brand kind and live in Manhattan of Shanghai, it’ll be pretty cool. But the rest of us who are out of network or on overloaded networks and who can only afford the B version, it will just pointlessly frustrate.

    • Gordon May 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I also doubt that communications speeds will also increase at the same rate as some of this new tech. As we’re finding with things like Siri, they are great in principle but then completely fail when being forced to rely on a slow 3G mobile connection.

  4. Luke May 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    I don’t really think that google aims for “stylish” nor updating FB statuses.. in worst case G+ :)

    personally I like the idea,
    Example scenario: you are in city like Tokio or Warsaw – for the first time; where most of the city looks the same or similar, people speak language you don’t know – no English; You have decided to look around.. where you go? or you got lost..

    Google maps in phone? All right, but constant looking at phone might cause more accidents than you might think..

    Getting best offers on-line is not bad idea as well – not for local businesses, but hey, no one likes to overpay for products.

    I am bit concerned about how google will make money on it – probably google ads on each corner or something even more irritating..

    generally, I like the idea, do not understand why you are so sceptic about it.
    I am pretty sure that, if Apple would create something like iGlasses there would be totally different article above :)

    Great post btw.

    • Gordon May 2, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      “I am pretty sure that, if Apple would create something like iGlasses there would be totally different article above”

      I don’t like Apple that much ;) But yeah, I’m sure a lot of people would love it just for that reason!

  5. Alex May 2, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Totally agree with this. It actually is one step too far. When he excuses himself to checkin to the coffee van, I just wanted be sick. Worse, when he enters the bookstore and doesn’t even bother to try and find the music section by looking at the floorplan instead simply asks the machine to ‘mummy him’ over to the right section, my mind was made up. If this becomes the norm, it will generate a generation of total muppets ( apart from an intellectual elite of software designers for google ).

    • Gordon May 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Yep! Plus we’ll just become incredibly unsocial as well! :P

  6. Mike May 7, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Hey, don’t hate on the technology just because of some corny promotional video. 90% of the uses of this thing (as with most new technology’s) haven’t even been thought of yet.

    LASER technology was dubbed “the solution without a problem” when it was invented.
    I think this tech will be commonplace in the future, and in ten years time we will look back at this video and laugh hysterically.

    • Gordon May 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Yeah, it will be interesting to see how it turns out. I guess I just don’t like the idea of technology taking such a prominent and constant role in our lives.

  7. Xris September 15, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    If this really takes off big, many problems that already exist with possibly invasive technologies will become more severe. As if personal privacy intrusions and having big companies like Google being allowed to have more personal data isn’t bad enough. I’m not too keen on major corporations storing all this data and having access to our personal experiences. But I am much more concerned that this will present a serious security risk. This will probably create a very attractive attack vector for cyber-criminals and the like, ultimately meaning increased government expenditure on counter-terrorist measures, electronic crime departments and corporate espionage countermeasures. Believe me, the spending is rising already. Overall, for what it’s worth I think it may create more problems than it actually solves.

  8. Mr Mark February 21, 2013 at 9:20 am

    This is just stupid. I’d rather pull a phone out my pocket to read an email, than have to constantly look an idiot and have the ability for it to flash into my field of view.

    And what use are they going to be for the average person, apart from reading emails, or finding a restaurant or shop in an unknown town?

    I can see the point of the existence of this type of thing, for military or other things, but for the average person to use in their free time, really, what is the point?

    They’ll either have to be worn all the time, or carried (and that’s going to need a case in one’s pocket).

    And now Google are offering a lottery so people can win the chance to spend over a thousand pounds on the prototype of them, lol, what a prize.

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