Google Glasses: a Terrible Look for Our Terrifying Future
Not only are Google Glasses aesthetically terrible, functionally the interface looks to be the worst thing to happen to the modern world since the bluetooth headset and people who try to sincerely use Siri in public. Google Glasses still, unfortunately, are the future.
Google doesn’t need to make glasses look worse. How long did it takes us as a culture to take regular glasses from a sign of weakness and nerdy-ness to just a thing, maybe 1,000 years (refusing to do the research.) Sure they just started out as a simple tool, but before long they were associated throughout time with introverts and weirdos, (it’s not there faults for being inventors and famous scientists and looking hilarious in photos.) Even sunglasses couldn’t be cool thanks to douche bags that wear them inside, at night, and/or on the back of their heads. After their pinnacle of “un-coolness” in the 1980s things were looking up for glasses they were going from a blackspot to identify the lepers in society back to just a useful tool. That is until around the turn of this millennium when a new beast known of “the hipster” would emerge to take this useful tool and not only remind us of their “un-coolness” by wearing the worst style of glasses; the super-thick frames from their most severe hay-day, but to get the most cultural penetration even hipsters with exceptional vision were wearing nonprescription glasses. Wearing them for the simple statement of hey look at these ridiculous things on my face. Ask any glasses wearing non-ironic person if they didn’t need glasses would they wear them, they wouldn’t they are always a mild inconvenience.
Despite that Google has successfully designed a new way for glasses to look terrible. The Google Glasses display alerts and information by putting up an oval with the information inside of it. Taking up enough visual real estate to be a impairment of what is actually going on around you. People don’t fall down steps, hit poles, and crash cars because they made the decision to hold the phone down by their side instead of directly out in front of them, they do those things because they were not paying attention to the task at hand, they were paying attention to the “hilarious” or “scandalous” thing friend sent them. The solution to that problem isn’t to project these alerts directly on your eye, the solution is to as a culture apply etiquette to using cellphones. This is something that seemed obvious to all parents in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, but once they realized how cool cellphones were instead of continuing to admonish their teens and tweens they started to emulate them. They should instill in their children to stop walking or driving when reading or responding to a text and to only talk on the phone in public or while driving when important information is being conveyed. Google Glasses will not help this situation it will exacerbate it.
Forget about how ugly the glasses look and how poorly they will display information for a minute and think about what the actual human interaction will look like. Annoying as it is to hear someone talking on the phone it somehow becomes twice as annoying to see someone do it on one of those bluetooth head sets. No matter how nice someone seems whenever I see them wearing a bluetooth headset I have to fight the urge to think of them as a douche bag. Now imagine those same people not only talking hands-free to all their friends, but now they are also interacting vocally with a computer; “Text Booger: “Bro sweet keg stand last night exclamation point…TEXT BOOGER… BOOGER… SWEET KEG STAND LAST NIGHT…. KEG STAND…confirm… yes…send.” or “Text Becky: O.M.G. she did not say that to him L.O.L. what a slut…L.O.L…. WHAT… A… SLUT…. confirm… send… yes… YES!” The type of voice recognition software that interpret natural speech and turn that in commands is still years away. That is why when Apple released Siri as a “public beta,” (although you would never know it by the way they push it in the commercials.) They need to (and do) collect all your conversations with Siri to make it better at understanding your dumb accent, vernacular, day to day needs and a place to quickly access the answers to all your mundane questions like; “What is salami made of? Once it figures out the words you slurred together while chewing gum it analyzes it for key words and colloquialisms to figure out you want to know the ingredients of salami. Which Siri will not be able to find on Yelp, Wolfram Alpha, or your Calendar, Reminders or any other built in app on your iPhone, and Siri does not have the capabilities to scan hundreds of web pages and find an accurate result. It will just give up and ask you if you would like it to do a web search and show you the Google results. You’ll end up talking to your glasses like you are trying to ask where the bathroom is a foreign country.
But not to worry shouting aloud things like check e-mail won’t be the only way to interact with these miracles of modern technology. There will be no doubt that flip through content by flicking your neck to the left or right and nodding up or down. If you shell out the extra money you’ll probably even be able to get a sweet bracelet that will be able to track the motion of your hand and fingers so you can swing your hand around too, just to complete the look of complete insanity in public. Just picture how cool you look playing Wii or with Kinect, now picture doing the same moves while walking down a crowded street without anyone else being able to see why you appear to be conducting an invisible mobile orchestra.
While as scary as it is to think of all these shouting, head and wrist flicking, glasses wearing, people slowly taking over the streets and shops, the real terrifying future will come from Googles attempts to improve the user experience to make them less awkward. To improve how it displays things on your eye they will no doubt use the built-in camera and a computer screen to align what you are looking at and where your eyes are pointing. That way it can display important information along the side of things that you are actually looking at sizing the text to look like it is right next to it instead of right in your face. That’s a good thing right? Sure, but think of the implications of that. How will Google know what you are looking at to automatically display that information? They would constantly uploading what you are looking at it and analyzing it. Which seems fun for things like movie poster giving you show times and little IMDB facts, nutrition details about your fast food meals, maybe even when you pick up a french fry it tells you how long it is, it tells you where your friend bought a vase or picture frame and how much it was.
How can they deliver the best search results on the web if the most popular websites out there are not sharing any information with Google? Google needed to get into the social network game while people still visited Google. They started with Google Buzz built right into Gmail. It did not go over very well. People found it to invasive and not as good as Twitter. Then Google Wave, it had the stink of e-mail all over it and nobody wanted to relearn how to use e-mail so that it would be more social. No matter how great it was people were already taught how to be social with Facebook and that is exactly what they wanted. So Google complied with Google Plus. Only to find out that most people do not want to manage more than one social network. They solved it by changing the private policy and making it search plus you. So if you are signed in to any of your Google services and go to search on Google it will incorporate your Google Plus circles into your search results making you by default an active Google Plus user. Using this technique in hopes that if you use enough Google services that you will find it easier to just use Google Plus than to go off to Facebook.
Now they have a way to learn all those little things about you and your interpersonal relationships that were once “safe” and walled off by Facebook. What would they do with this information in regards to the glasses? Scanning people’s faces and their GPS location and matching them with there social network profile to display information about them so that you know a little bit about the people around you. Sounds like an awesome invasion of privacy that would never happen. Except that it is very possible and things like this have already happened. Before it got too much criticism and Apple pulled the app, Girls Around Me was the best app out there for creeps. The app was simple, all it did was aggregate public information from apps like Foursquare to find where girls were and then display other public information about them including pictures from the social network profiles associated with their Foursquare account. It is amazing what people don’t realize they are sharing with complete strangers around them. So when the glasses come out Google will be able see everything you do. How long your eyes stay on an ad on the subway as opposed to the girls boobs four seats down. Good news is Google Glasses will probably be able to tell you her bra size, height, and project an ad right on those puppies.
So now you have Terminator or Iron Man vision. Unlike Iron Man you do not have your own personal database and network safe from prying eyes. You are forced to rely on Google in return for your essence. So you will be more like the Terminator except his database was kept on his person and only communicated with Skynet when in the same century and he didn’t care because he was a robot with a specific purpose. He had a one track mind and no personal life to keep personal. Your Skynet will be Google and unless digital storage and computing gets significantly smaller or your organs do you will be in constant communication with them showing them where you are and what you are doing. Do you want a faceless billion dollar corporation knowing you that intimately? Trying to anticipate your every move to, “make a better user experience?” The glasses could have looked amazing and the idea of what they will bring makes me not want to use them, that is until the internet has completely stripped from my brain the very idea of privacy… so like ten or fifteen years. Probably the same amount of time it will take Google to make and mass produce the glasses… shit.
Posted on April 24, 2012, in Ramblings of an Unbalanced Mind and tagged Bluetooth, Future, Glasses, Google Glasses, Hipsters, Iron Man, Jeff, Privacy, Style, Terminator, Texting, Tools, Voice Control. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.