Ever since I bought Google Glass, I’ve gotten a ton of questions from people. Some are fascinated by it, some see it as a frivolous expense, and others just think it’s the latest technology fad and not even worth the time of day. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain why I chose to make the investment.
It’s actually far simpler than you probably think. In fact, it all boils down to this… I think it’s the future of computing. It’s a rough draft, sure. It’s wonky and clearly a beta. But I vividly remember when the World Wide Web was a goofy little ‘beta’. I remember arguing whether we’d ever have enough bandwidth to be able to handle full color images in a timely way, much less 3D video streaming. I remember when the iPhone was an interesting device, but for almost a full year the only apps available were the ones that came pre-loaded onto it. People seem to forget that part. They also forget all the arguments and rationale people posted for why the iPad will be an epic failure and that nobody would ever need a device ‘between’ your phone and your computer. For months after I got my first iPad, I had to field questions along hte lines of, “sure it’s cool, but why would anyone really need it?”
And now I hear the same things about Google Glass. It’s too big. It’s annoying. Too expensive. Too limited. No apps. It’s intrusive. People will be too out of touch because of it. And it goes on and on and on.
And yet, whenever I hand them over to someone and they start using it… people tend it get strangely quiet. And reflective. When I talk about using the GPS on my bike, or recording video of the kids while we sled down the hill, lightbulbs start going on. When I talk about the Strava app, and being able to see your pace and splits while you’re running, they start nodding their heads. And when I break out things like Word Lens, well that’s an experience in itself.
The point being, all the doubters are right. It IS a too big right now. It IS expensive. It IS limited in what it does. And that’s all just fine with me. Because it’s just a beginning. It’s like the iPhonein 2007, with a few big exceptions.
For example, every month Google releases major upgrades for it. There’s no waiting for the yearly releases, every single month there are new features released by Google. Developers are just now starting to hit their stride with apps, and some really interesting things are coming out for it. And for those willing to sideload, that list is exponentially larger. But the biggest difference is that Google embraced the fact that there are a large number of us that LOVE being part of the development process, especially for a groundbreaking new device. So instead of beta testers, we’re explorers. Yes, I know I paid a huge amount for a product that really isn’t finished. I can live with that. Because it really is awesome, and it’s getting better every day.
At the end of the day, there are a ridiculous number of reasons not to get Glass right now. And I truly do understand why anyone would have that opinion. But for people that can accept the limitations and are interested in pushing the boundries, in helping to re-write the way our society interacts with the digital space… well, it really is a wonderful opportunity.