New details of Google Glass were revealed this week, and it got me thinking, is this really going to be the next big thing, will it even work, or is it just going to become a hazard for the clumsy-inclined?
The idea of having the ability to take photos, make a call, and consult Google with little more than a thought sounds great in principle. I’ve only had a smartphone for about a year and the feeling of loss having left it in the back of a taxi would have seemed absurd in a my pre-smartphone life. I could, therefore, see how such a convenient technology could become the norm. My question is whether Google Glass will actually work – I’m not talking about whether the technology will function, I’m asking if it could actually become part of everyday life.
For me, in its present form, I’m not so sure.
Think about this situation without Google Glass. You’re in the centre of London, walking through bustling crowds, trying to find a certain pub or restaurant. You might ask someone nearby for directions, or perhaps more likely find a post code and rapidly type it in to your smartphone as you loiter near a coffee shop. You convert map to memory and walk a few streets to be reconnected with that cold glass of blush rose – hooray!
Now picture the situation with Google Glass. You realise you don’t know where you are, you speak to the Glass and request directions to your desired waterhole, to which it guides you. In your line of sight you now have your in-house sat nav, as well as a constantly updating stream of photos and friendly chatter, not to mention what’s going on in the ‘real’ world. If you don’t get distracted by these other virtual updates, you may make it to your desired pub, if you’re lucky.
Never before has the virtual and real world interacted so closely, or perhaps, never has the risk of the virtual and real world bashing into each other – and you looking a bit crazy – been so high. To put it simply, you’ve just spoken out-loud to yourself in a public place, taken directions from a virtual image, and if you’re anything like me, walked into one hundred people, a few bins, and the odd telephone box. Surely attempting to concentrate on so many things at once only spells trouble – and what happens if you’re really popular? Does your whole visual landscape fill up? And how on earth will you see said pub now? I’m clumsy, it’s true, but I don’t see this evolution of multi-tasking resulting in anything but chaos, at least for me.
At the moment, the only thing I can be thankful for with Google Glass is that it probably won’t be using Siri or Apple Maps. I’m not sure I could handle my glass of wine turning into a sign, or the pub ending up as a brick wall!