Why Google Glass will ultimately fail

Life is best lived rather than observed. If the name Google wasn’t attached would you care that much about Google Glass? I don’t think so. And, you look douche-y and self-absorbed and just plain creepy when you have them on, and when people realize what you can do with them.

The news is that you can get prescription glasses with Google Glass and that VSP, a provider of health insurance services for the optically challenged, will be happy not to deny coverage. 


“Google Glass is the kind of cutting-edge technology that VSP Vision Care is always looking to bring to VSP eye care providers and 64 million VSP members,” said Jim McGrann, president of VSP Vision Care, a part of VSP Global. “As a not-for-profit, our partnership with Google helps fulfill our mission to help people see by connecting high-quality eye care services through VSP doctors while delivering relevant products to meet the eye care needs of VSP members.”

“(Google) Glass is one of the most exciting optical-related technologies brought to consumers in the last decade,” added Matthew Alpert, chairman of Optometric Innovation for VSP Global. “… The partnership between VSP and Google will ensure consumers receive both the best technological experience and the best prescription eyewear and financial benefit, from the respective leaders in technology and eye care.”

It still begs the question: will people who are not Google sycophants really care about Google Glass?

I say not. History is replete with bad wardrobe choices and Google Glass may rank right up there with the men’s puffy shirts and women’s culottes. 

As Hamlet says:


For apparel oft proclaims the man….


That’s Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He was no slouch in understanding the human condition.

Google Glass says that you are disconnected from reality. You need to have this stuff being pumped into your eyeball to make it palatable for you.

It means that you really don’t have any sense of self-worth because, you are willing to give away everything you have which is what happens when you, you personally, don’t value your own privacy.

Autonomy and privacy are characteristics of self-actualized people. Google Glass just represents a giant step towards a complete loss of identity and a sort of supra-conformity, primarily driven by Google’s data services.

It’s not difficult to see how the infatuation with Google Glass, which is frankly limited to bloggers and journalists, is a kind of self-conscious need to feel accepted by technocrats.

Sergey Brin likes Google Glass so, I should love it.

But, put aside the philosophy and let’s think of the reasons why Google Glass will fail:

1. They are visible, right on your face. They define you. The negative connotations of that will resonate. Heck, people don’t even like wearing Bluetooth earpieces anymore. They feel dorky, or exposed.

2. Do you really want Google to judge what you are looking at? Before you make any excuses, it’s watching what you watch, and while you may not use it to record everything, whatever seeps through your personal firewalls of comfort will be Google’s data to be mined. So, you like to look at Tide detergent in the supermarket? Let’s give you all the Tide ads you can handle.

3. Do you want to be that plugged in, that often? If anything, people are going to want respite from the Internet of Things, and will probably want to tune out. Google Glass implies a sort of compulsive online fixation that should get you a trip to a shrink.

4. So, you use email, you use chat, and you use Facebook, and sure, you can see stuff on Google Glass, like a heads-up display, perhaps, but what else? How do you interact with the applications that you will be most engaged with, eg, social media? Google Glass doesn’t add anything to the user experience of our most used applications. 

5. How do you train people to be less distracted? Well, we haven’t figured out how to stop people texting and driving, and if you had a Google Glass component, it’s pretty clear that we are expecting way too much from the average attention addled idiots that walk around with their heads and thumbs buried in their phones. 

Nothing that Google Glass does adds to the user experience of our online world, certainly not beyond the gimmicky, and it adds even less to our attention in the real world.

Maybe in 50 years time, people will be able to multi-task, handle multiple displays and pretty much act like a modern day Navy fighter pilot, but there’s a reason why the Navy has a very selective process to recruit those fighters. There is a reason why they can do what they can do and millions of dollars are spent training them.

The rest of us, the vast majority of humanity, barely gets one thing right at any time.