Today the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune published an essay entitled “Google Glass is the creepy innovation we didn’t want“. The following is my (brief) response as published in the website’s comments section under my nome de plume, RonPadz.
You may pronounce Glass dead but it would be a mistake to write off augmented reality (AR) entirely. You are correct in stating that Glass was missing the killer app, this much is true. We don’t need to walk around with cameras mounted on our foreheads. GoPro got it right by marketing a POV camera to be used when we are doing something truly worthy of sharing with others. Where I believe Glass went wrong is that it was touted as an always-on technology. Even though in society today we are constantly on camera everywhere we go, it turns out that it freaks people out when those cameras are mounted on the heads of others. Augmented reality is not about taking video and photos. The next generation of AR glasses will be intended for task-oriented usage. There will be times when AR will enhance our experience and then, and only then, will we don the glasses. For this to happen, AR must fulfill the promise of enhancing and enriching whatever it is we are doing. Whether at a museum or a ball game, if AR meets this criteria we won’t feel stupid looking like a cyborg while we do it. Then we’ll take the glasses off and go about our day. There are several companies out there with glasses in development that are far more advanced than Glass and along with their arrival will arise the use cases we’ve been waiting for. Until then, Glass should not be ridiculed for its failure, but rather it should be lauded for starting the conversation. History will credit Glass for taking AR out of the lab and sparking innovation that we likely have not even thought of yet.