Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.



The Pros and Cons of Google Glass


Google Glass is a wearable computer that can be worn similarly to eyeglasses. Google Glasses have a transparent heads-up or head-mounted display that allows users to see a computer screen while still seeing the world through the screen.

And as with everything, Google Glasses have both advantages and disadvantages that should be seriously weighed when considering adoption of this new technology.

The Advantages of Google Glass
  1. Hands Free: The currently most popular applications for Google Glasses are continuous hands free tasks, such as video recording, maps/directions, and clock/date apps.
  2. Convenience: The second most obvious advantage of Google Glasses are convenience apps, such as taking photos with just a push of a button, head or eye movement, or voice command without the need of taking out a cell phone or camera from a pocket or bag, possibly turning it on, then starting the camera application, and then finally aiming the camera to take the photo.
  3. Multitask: With Google Glasses, users no longer have to look away from the task that they are performing. For instance, drivers do not need to take their eyes off the road if they need directions.
  4. Open Platform: Any developer or company can implement new applications on the open platform of Google Glasses.


The Disadvantages of Google Glass
  1. Distraction: Imagine doing an important task and being continuously or suddenly distracted by audio and/or visual information that does not pertain to that task. For instance, Google Glass users could be talking with someone when they are simultaneously bombarded with advertisements or emails. An even worse example is if users are driving a car, then any distraction could become very dangerous. Therefore, distractions from Google Glasses could be much worse than simple information overload with liability concerns.
  2. Rudeness: Additionally, many people consider Google Glass users to be rude when they are or can be distracted by the devices.
  3. Privacy: Other people are not aware if and when they are being recorded by Google Glass users, unlike a regular camera or cell phone when it is much more obvious when they are recording. Furthermore, people even behave differently when they believe that they could possibly be recorded. As a result, people are socially wary and even shun people who wearing Google Glasses.
  4. Stress: With the always online culture with cell phones, tablets, and computers causing social and information overload, the lack of winding down periods has increased stress and anxiety in the population in general. With Google Glasses that can be always worn and in use, stress and anxiety will probably be significantly worse.
  5. Surfing: Using Google Glasses for regular Internet surfing is a combination of both awkwardness and clumsiness. Thus, Google Glass is not as convenient and easy to use as a computer, tablet, or even a cell phone.
  6. Anti-Social: Google Glasses promote anti-social behavior, such as being distracted, looking like a nerd or dork, privacy/recording infringement, rudeness, and even paranoia.
  7. Ugly: Many people consider Google Glasses unsightly and even ugly. The aesthetics of the device could be greatly improved on, such as making them less visible or an add-on to existing eyeglasses or even sunglasses to hide them better.
  8. Price: Google Glasses will be available to the general public in the fourth quarter of 2013 with the final price not yet announced. However, the current price for each unit is somewhere between US$500 and US$1500. Fortunately, they are mostly made with common parts that can be easily manufactured in very large quantities. As a result, the eventual price of Google Glasses will probably be very cheap if they become popular enough.
Over all, Google Glasses only have a few advantages but have a much larger number of disadvantages (some are major disadvantages) that make them unlikely to become very popular, in my opinion. Because of these disadvantages, I believe only people specifically wanting a specific advantage of Google Glasses would be interested in purchasing them, while regular people will continue to prefer using computers, tablets, and cell phones.

Only with more applications that are specifically tailored for Google Glasses can their advantages increase to possibly outweigh the large number of disadvantages. Only time will tell.

by Phil B.

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