Although Google recently sent out early versions of its potentially game-changing new product, Google Glass, the real thing won’t be available to the general public until 2014. Despite earlier promises that Google Glass would be on sale in 2013, the company instead is releasing the glasses later in order to incorporate feedback on the initial design it sent out to developers.
The glasses recently released were part of the Google Glass “Explorers Program,” and were sent out to people who Google hopes will test out Glass, as well as possibly develop apps and programs for it. The Explorer version of the Glass set the lucky winners back $1,500, but the actual retail price is rumored to be much lower.
The “Explorers” who’ve received Glass aren’t wasting anytime in trying it out — people are already posting pictures of what the world looks like through the camera lens of the glasses and discussing the pros and the cons of the first real step in “wearable computing.” Newt Gingrich, Soulja Boy, and Neil Patrick Harris are among those who won the opportunity to buy Glass early.
But once Glass is finally available, will Google be able to win the mainstream? I for one don’t plan to rush to the store to buy Glass as soon as it comes out. Then again, I also still don’t have a smartphone, so I’m a bit of a technological holdout. But I’m not sold on the Glass for a number of reasons: first, and most importantly, the privacy issue that’s come up many times in various articles. I already get creeped out when I think someone’s taking a picture of me with their phone — if Glass really becomes popular, it will be difficult to tell when someone is filming or photographing you versus just looking at you. Will we be able to talk as freely if we know there’s a chance anything we say may be surreptitiously recorded?
And to be honest, there are very few people that have such exciting lives that they need to wear Google Glass all day in case they need to snap a photo or take a video. The other features of Glass are a bit more appealing — the directions and maps that appear right in front of you, the ability to video chat with friends, the ability to Google anything hands-free. But still, it seems like a lot of distraction. I already get exasperated when people compulsively check their phones when we’re in the middle of a conversation — it seems like Glass will take this to the next level.
But if you do want to get your hands on the glasses, save your pennies until 2014. And if it ends up that we all start wearing them, here’s to hoping by the time they go mainstream, the glasses look a little bit more stylish — Google is reportedly in talks with startup eyewear company Warby Parker to redesign the specs to make them trendier.