Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 23rd Jun 2014 23:53 UTC
Google

Announced three weeks ago, the Diane Von Furstenberg accessory set offers five new frames and eight shades designed specifically for ladies. They're available for sale individually (i.e., separate from Glass, for existing Explorers) in the official online Glass store, and they're available with Glass on the luxury fashion site, Net-A-Porter.

I haven't spent a whole many words on Google Glass on OSNews thus far, partly because these things are quite expensive and only available to a select group of Americans.

Since this is as good a time as any to show my cards on Glass: I think Google has been botching, and continues to botch, the publicity around Glass in a spectacular way. They've been positioning it as a consumer product that you wear all the time, through all your daily activities, but I don't think that's where the real value of Glass (and technology like it) will come into its own.

Glass is geeky, and while that's not really a bad thing in my book (no matter what certain looks-obsessed bloggers say), it does limit the device's appeal. They can make it really small and unobtrusive, but that'll raise concerns regarding privacy even more than Glass already does today. On top of that, I simply doubt that most people have any need for Glass in their regular, day-to-day life.

No, I think the real value of Glass lies in an entirely different area Google seems to have been ignoring so far. It's a far less sexy area than the world of designer glasses and paragliders, but one that offers far, far more potential: 'traditional' workplaces. Construction. Road works. Law enforcement. The military. Farmers. Firefighters. Plumbers. Roofers. You name it. People who work with their hands in potentially dangerous environments, who can use the heads-up display for at-a-glance, crucial information while out in the field.

In short, I think Glass could be huge for people who do what I admiringly refer to as "real work" (to differentiate it from my own job, which comes down to sitting behind a desk translating crap). Sadly, Google seems to ignore this area, overflowing with potential, completely, continuing down its path of trying to make Google Glass hip and fashionable. I am much more interested in seeing what Glass can do for the kinds of professions I just mentioned.

Those traditional workers might not be VC-sexy, but I'm convinced they'd benefit a whole lot more from Glass than privileged tech bloggers, supermodels, and translators.

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google doesn't sell things
by mattsaved on Tue 24th Jun 2014 01:36 UTC
mattsaved
Member since:
2014-03-24

I agree, I'd like to try this out in my field. Try climbing a tower with even a netbook. But ultimately google knows that anything that gets made eventually becomes a low margin commodity piece of hardware, in a see of cheap clone devices. Google only cares about how they can use it to make recurring revenue.

Reply Score: 2

RE: google doesn't sell things
by No it isnt on Tue 24th Jun 2014 17:01 UTC in reply to "google doesn't sell things"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Actually, they do sell things: Glass. I'm sure I've seen a statement that Glass won't even have ads, and advertisements are certainly banned right now.

Cheap knock-offs with low margins may of course be made, but the hardware isn't what makes Glass interesting, nor even the software. It's the hands-off availability of relevant information. Now, I know it's become fashionable to consider Google an advertising agency, but that's disingenuous: what they do, and do well, is information. Information delivery, information metrics, information analysis. (Efficient advertising is their main source of revenue, but still just a by-product of that.) I don't see how a cheap knock-off product can compete.

Reply Score: 5

You left out doctors.
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 24th Jun 2014 02:08 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

That *is* very VC Sexy. 1500 is cheap! They should be charging 100x that. They need to combine that with the Da vinci robot and they'll print money.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by bnolsen
by bnolsen on Tue 24th Jun 2014 04:13 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

that might be more of a trimble or leica type product. liability is a huge issue in these fields.

Reply Score: 3

the real use
by unclefester on Tue 24th Jun 2014 05:29 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

The realistic use is for drivers and motorcylists. Working as an HUD combined with voice control ("turn on headlights") it would reduce distraction and keep eyes on the road.

Reply Score: 1

I have only one use for it
by p13. on Tue 24th Jun 2014 06:37 UTC
p13.
Member since:
2005-07-10

I think it would be quite handy for guided navigation while driving, along with a HUD displaying speed, temps, etc. I think it has great potential as an AR driving aid. Other than that ... i really don't see the point TBH. Definitely couldn't care less about designer names printed on them.

I also don't understand why people would wear this all day. I don't think taking pictures and such with it is such a great idea, unless you are streaming something in a class or a meeting or something. Can you imagine standing in front of someone trying to take a picture of them? "Please wait while i talk to my eyewear and/or rub it in a very specific way, so that i can take a picture of you." yeah ... no thanks

Reply Score: 3

Useless
by tacks on Tue 24th Jun 2014 08:22 UTC
tacks
Member since:
2014-05-03

I've been using glass over a year and it's a big "shrug" in practice, and glasses in general are annoying to wear. I much prefer a smartwatch.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Useless
by No it isnt on Tue 24th Jun 2014 17:08 UTC in reply to "Useless"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

I haven't wore a watch since I got my first mobile phone, which coincides within a year from when I got my glasses. Wonderful eye protectors, and make me look more intelligent than I really am. Being able to actually see things is nice, too.

Still don't want Google Glass. Nor a smartwatch. I see how they can be useful to others, though (in contrast to tablets).

Edited 2014-06-24 17:10 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Paragliders!
by Lobotomik on Tue 24th Jun 2014 08:27 UTC
Lobotomik
Member since:
2006-01-03

It's funny that you mentioned them in this article, because last week, in a paragliding trip, we were talking precisely about how nice it would be to use Google Glass as a flight instrument. It would be so nice, having alti/vario/GPS/nav info floating before your eyes! And in beautiful color and high resolution, rather than a 128x256 B/W LCD... Tiny market, surely, but someone will definitely come up with the app.

As you say, small markets seem to be where Glass fits best -- we'll see if Google is interested in tending them, or if the aggregate is big enough for them to care.

Reply Score: 3

A world of possibilities
by _QJ_ on Tue 24th Jun 2014 11:45 UTC
_QJ_
Member since:
2009-03-12

With an HUD for workers, there are tons of possible uses.

Plan of pieces in mechanics, electricity, electronics, surgery, ....

Visual presentation of real time data, in a lot of organisations, it is an asset.

Companies and workers which will rapidly understand that, will take major benefits.

Reply Score: 2

Vuzix?
by hobgoblin on Tue 24th Jun 2014 16:14 UTC
hobgoblin
Member since:
2005-07-06

Vuzix have been pushing this use of HMDs for years now. They now even offer one that is worn more like a bluetooth handsfree.

Reply Score: 2

I think they are
by stimut on Tue 24th Jun 2014 18:56 UTC
stimut
Member since:
2012-10-08

Actually, I think Google are looking putting Glass in workplaces. For example:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/google-glass-enters-the-op...
http://news.uci.edu/press-releases/uci-school-of-medicine-first-to-...
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/pilots-are-wearing-google-glass-no...
http://www.airport-world.com/home/general-news/item/4107-copenhagen...

There may be others, but these are just examples of things I remember reading about.

Of course, I don't know how much Google has been marketing to companies, and how many of the trials were instead initiated by forward thinking companies. Also, there seems to be a lack of more "independent" workers, such as plumbers and roofers.

I would say a couple of other things about the apparent lack of marketing, though. Glass is still experimental and being developed. It's not for sale yet, so it makes sense that there isn't much marketing. The publicity is mainly either from geeky websites (which explains why there is a personal consumer device focus), or from privacy paranoid publications. Also, Google may even be marketing to plumbers, but unless you are one, working in the US, I doubt you would know about it.

In general I agree though, it doesn't seem like a great consumer product (but then I thought that about the iPad too...).

Reply Score: 2

Glass needs purpose focus and a wire...
by curio on Wed 25th Jun 2014 11:54 UTC
curio
Member since:
2010-05-03

"OK Thom"
How about filling in some of the blanks as to Glass's core communication/function protocols? How necessarily collaborative with Google are all of the available functions of Glass? Must every task and subsequent work product pass through Google's servers (immediately or uploaded later)? How useful would Glass be if operated autonomously from Google, or if by using Google just for occasional search functions (pull as opposed to push)? Is operating Glass apart from Google's direct oversight, say, as a resident GlassOS program core used as a private hub on a Home/Company LAN, even possible?

Why are we interested? Well, imagine Glass being integrated into the core business operations of your financial, health care, or other professional's who have access to your most private, personal records, as a quick, "convenient", hands-free way to access, update and adjust those records. If all these sensitive data points must pass through Google, then we have some serious privacy, security and legal liability concerns with regard to these professionals jacking into Google's intrusive, data sucking, sky-net of servers. Lawsuits cuing up as far as the eye can see are looming on the horizon, if that be the case. HANDS-FREE computing is a nice idea, but only if Google, etc.., can be convinced to keep their HANDS-OFF our private data moving through Glass's OS or the like.

Further, assuming we can reconcile with our Glass objections (above), there are serious battery capacity issues reported by other Glass Explorers (Glassholes). Less than an hour of video? WT*! As with seemingly all things mobile the OEMs drop the ball on battery life. They proudly tout their newest phone's virtues as thin enough to slice cheese, but it'll require the ritualistic tedium of keeping one eye on the battery meter in perpetuity.
That being the case, Google Glass, in order to have any useful life, will need be a lot heavier to accommodate larger batteries, or they'll need an extended use version named Google Glass-Helmet. Current battery capacities just aren't up to task to make Glass comfortable and practical, both.

Or, perhaps the Glass project is a bit too ambitious in its proposed device taxonomy of HANDS-FREE and WIRELESS. Especially given the atrocious power capacity issue. Maybe if Glass or different offering from another manufacturer were to couch this or a like device as a wired (leave you phone in your pocket)cellphone I/O (input/output) accessory and related app, with just the various and appropriate sensors and heads-up display on the headset. Add some good stereo speakers in the frame, and make the frame fold-able like real glasses. You'd then have a much smaller, lighter, cheaper, much more usable device than what is Google Glass now. Given that a tiny heads-up display uses vastly less power than your cellphone's display and the frame speakers (or ear-buds) would use far less power than external speakers, using an eyeglass headset configured as such (Google Glass) would significantly extend the battery life of your cellphone's battery. This power saving could possibly be leveraged to power an always on clock, notifications, or even a second heads-up display for maybe expanding this accessory's usefulness to true 3D and mobile movie and video watching.

Cost for all this extra functionality? One wire. And who isn't going to take their regular cellphone with them when they're using Glass or the like? Few to no one.

We can be cautiously optimistic, that if we all draw a line in the sand and demand real, legally binding privacy safeguards, as well as lines drawn as to when these are and aren't acceptable in social situations outside the home or within the private purview of the user, if ever (i.e. as a useful utility while shopping OK--Trolling customers in a bar or eating establishment NEVER!), for devices such as these, that they can in fact provide a true benefit to many individual lives. Especially the disabled among us.

In the current world of patent craziness however, we should push for open protocols and cross platform capability, as we don't need to cause a lock-out of competition in this realm from the get-go.

Posted this also at theInquirer.

Reply Score: 4

jphamlore
Member since:
2011-02-15

The original design problem that made Google Glass look "geeky" was mistaken minimalism. All one has to do is look at how Beats headphones or the glasses frames someone like LeBron James wears are designed. They are not minimalistic. They do not hide what they are. They instead are thick, have color, have presence.

The big design obstacle is the asymmetry caused by the camera and other electronics. Thicken up the frame and add color. That's what the new designs partially do only aimed at women, and possibly only a certain demographic of women.

Reply Score: 3

The future is here now, and it kinda sucks
by ezraz on Wed 25th Jun 2014 18:05 UTC
ezraz
Member since:
2012-06-20

We have predicted in-eye HUD's for decades now. But it was for fiction and hollywood visuals, not day to day life. Regular people simply don't need a data stream in their eye, we already have it at our touch and it can thankfully be put away.

Does anyone really want HUD's on them while they work? Lack of concentration is our biggest problem and this is another distraction.

Unless these HUD displays were really giving us interactive and visually clear assistance, why not a poster, a tablet, an HD monitor, a book, or (gasp!) your memory to assist you?

I see a small yet critical market like Linemen and people working at high/dangerous locations, using specially built vertical-apps in their HUD, not wikipedia or google. Climbing all the way up there to be greeted with a surprising part # would lead them to wanting the proper schematic and not having a free hand to click and call up the information.

I also see law enforcement loving this - here's comes big brother officer, able to "run you" (not just your plates) using facial recognition. This has positives of course, depending on who is the good guy and bad guy at that moment. Cops will become walking video cameras, ID'ing and storing every human interaction they have. Robocops soon thereafter.

All hail the wise ones, our robot masters.

Reply Score: 3

I've just spent an hour with Google Glass
by h5n1xp on Fri 27th Jun 2014 17:58 UTC
h5n1xp
Member since:
2013-08-24

It was fun for about 5min, until I realised that I didn't actually NEED any of the functionality it offers. The speech recognition was very good for me, but completely refused to understand my girlfriend. I'm left with a slight headache and I can definitely feel my right eye has been strained ;)

The units all become VERY hot in use and are actually quite heavy. The contact speaker simply refused to transmit audio effectively to my skull.

Overall the device is quite intrusive despite sitting just above my field of view (an intentional position by Google).

The one application that was really good, was the augmented reality star finder... But again, a novelty not a function ;)

A nice experiment, but it's not a product.

Reply Score: 1