OK, Glass! Updates About Google Glass:

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  • OK, Glass! Updates About Google Glass:

    March 7, 2014

    -Kate Kotler, Writer

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    While many people believe that wearable tech (such as Google Glass) will provide the tipping point that leads us into the age of context, Googles attempt at iPhone-type revolutionary technology is still ramping up slowly and having a hard time finding a foothold within the consumer demographic which it needs the most to succeed.

    To date, the cutting edge technology, championed by such celebrities as Neil Patrick Harris, Kevin Smith and Alyssa Milano is still only in the hands of a few thousand members of the Google Glass Explorers program and the price point has not dropped from $1,500/pair (plus, tax).

    Despite this, the tech industry and beyond are still reacting at both ends of the pro/anti Glass spectrum in anticipation of the more widespread release of the tech someday. But, reviews and reports are mostly negative:


    In December, SlashGear reported that Google would be rolling out prescription lenses and customized frames in an eort to appeal to a broader demographic of (fashion conscious, optically challenged) consumers in a few weeks due to a partnership with Rochester Optical.

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    Actually, the rollout took more like a few months, but, CNN reported just this past week that Google finally debuted those chicer frames and prescription lenses this past Tuesday. Frames are reported to be at a price point of $225, with sunglass options at $150. Prescription lenses will cost what prescription lenses tend to cost AND, no drop in the tech price, as the Glass hardware is holding firm at $1,500 + tax. And, you still have to apply to be invited to purchase Glass. Not so good for the democratization of the tech, as despite the new frames and lenses, Glass is still out of reach -financially speaking- for the majority of consumers.


    Journalists are having mixed reactions to Google Glass: In December, Jack Aaronson of ClickZ reported that the Glass was either half empty, or half full its hard to tell. According to Aaronson, there are so few applications for Glass at the the present time that its dicult to pinpoint what the actual use of the device is. Aaronson says that the Navigation tool is really the only helpful aspect of Glass, but that its so distracting to use while walking or driving that it negates its functionality. Similarly, C.W. Nevius (a tech reporter for the SF Gate who participated in the Google for Media summit recently held in the Bay Area), says that while Glass *could be* useful, it is massively distracting and causing Glass paranoia in San Francisco.


    To wit, Sarah Slocum -a Glass Explorer and SF tech flack- was verbally and PHYSICALLY attacked in a bar because she was wearing the device. (She was also robbed of her purse and cellphone, so it is feasible that the Glass aspect of the mugging was overplayed by the media Molotovs is a pretty notoriously dive-y Lower Haight bar with a mixed patronage, its as common to see gutter punks and homeless in that bar as it is to see hipsters or professionals)

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    Glass Paranoia is not restricted to SF, as many have expressed deep concerns about how Glass will aect individual privacy. A user was dragged out of a movie theater under suspicion that he was illegally recording the movie, police wearing glass have been accused of using the device to profile on the sly and more and more establishments are banning the device including sporting venues, gyms (for use in the locker room, natch), hospitals, classrooms and strip clubs.

    ! The number one place Glass has been banned (and most impactful, IOHO) is behind the wheel of a car. Illinois is amongst

    several states that have already filed legislation to restrict the use of Google Glass while driving, thinking that it will be as dangerous as using a handset not on handsfree mode its a pretty safe assumption that is a true fact.

    !So, what does all this mean for Google Glass? Were not sure, but as Robert Scoble and Shel Israel point out in The Age of Context, there is likely to be serious push-back against wearable tech before it is embraced by the wider public. It will be interesting to watch what happens next with Google Glass

    !~Kate Kotler, Writer