The Problem With Google Glasses

A lot of the tech-savvy folks I work with have been talking about the Google Glasses video.   They love the concept of bringing technology to everyday tasks as a way to make life easier (and not to mention, another cool, cutting edge gadget to own).  The video is pretty intriguing, check it out:

Depending on where you live on the technology spectrum, these are either the coolest things ever or another piece of evidence in the decline of civilization.

Personally, I think the concept is neat, but a little sci-fi.  However, it is the execution of the video that really falls short for me.

Google is trying to build hype for these super-cool, cutting edge glasses that will allow you to do all sorts of everyday tasks with integrated, web-assisted ease.  But let’s take a closer look at the guy’s primary mission:  he is going to a bookstore to purchase the book Ukulele In A Day so he can learn ukulele to impress his girl.  Rather mundane, but that is part of the point:  Google Glasses use technology to help you accomplish more, easier.

Unfortunately, even with these James Bond computer glasses, our protagonist still takes the longest (and decidedly lowest-tech) way to accomplish these tasks:

1) He uses these fancy-schmancy, hi-tech glasses to BUY A BOOK! A physical, bound paper book. 
I need the greatest piece of integrated technology mankind has created to obtain a medium (typed words on paper) that dates back to the 1450s?  If Google ever makes a personal jet-pack, the introductory video will probably show the guy flying across town to purchase a horse and buggy.  Seriously, aren’t these magic glasses equipped with some kind of e-reader?  That must be in version 2.0.

2) He seeks out Ukulele In A Day at his local bookstore. 
Why didn’t he just google the book, use the Shopping results to find the cheapest price, and have it sent to his house?  Maybe he’s the kind of guy who prefers to support local businesses instead of Amazon, you say?  Still, the video could have shown him using the glasses to browse the Strand Books website, check their hours, or request the book be put on hold via video chat.  A big missed opportunity to showcase the simplicity.

3) If he wants to learn how to play the ukulele, he could have used those magic glasses to pull up Google and enter: “how to play the ukulele”. 
Aside from dozens of video results (which I think would be a much, much easier way to learn a musical instrument than using a physical book) the first result is “How to Play the ukulele in Three Minutes or Less!”  Hmm..spend a day learning the ukulele or three minutes?  No brainer.

4) We never see what these glasses look like. 
Since we are viewing the world through these amazing glasses, we never get to see what the protagonist (and more importantly, his glasses) look like.  Since they are first generation, my guess is they probably look something like this:

Google Glasses prototype? (source:

I don’t think I’ll be camping out to get the Google glasses whenever they are released.


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[…] unique spin on things.  For examples of what I mean, I’ll refer you to my posts on Google Goggles, the Penn State scandal, and the alternate uniforms worn by the Nebraska football […]

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