Yesterday (Tuesday, April 15th), Google Glass became available for sale for one day only. The gadget, which has been deemed revolutionary by many, received a surprisingly cool reception by consumers. However, others have approached the concept with cautious skepticism. According to CBS Consumer Watchdog listed the top 10 reasons not to get Google Glass; an Information Week columnist listed five reasons he wouldn’t be buying it; New York Magazine rattled off seven reasons not to buy it; Forbes listed 10 better ways to spend $1,500. Could it be the astronomical price tag that is discouraging further support for the new tech? Or are concerns over the legality of some of its features (like the ability to record whatever the user sees at any point in time) driving potential customers away from the exclusive one-day launch.
While the Google glasses seem like a cool gadget to own, I personally, fail to see the need for them, especially for the astronomical price of $1,500 (plus tax). For an American market that has been slowly rebuilding since the crushing 2009 recession, many will likely wait for a significant price drop in the next couple of years. The new tech, while innovating in its placement within eyewear, fails to make any leaps and bounds in terms of bringing actual new technology, activities, or programs to the general public. It is simply a new direction and approach to pre-existing technology by spinning technology largely available to us through our mobile phones and transplanting those into glasses. I am able to record videos on my iPhone, I don’t need to be able to record them with my eyes through glasses. On top of that, they are not particularly aesthetically pleasing…hello Google, design is important when your creating technology that people actually wear…on their face! If the glasses allowed us to shoot laser beams out of our eyes we might actually contrive some “new” use for this tech and might help to justify the price point. As of now, $1500 is too much to ask for a new take on the same tricks.
Security concerns for Google have also been an issue as some have raised concerns over the ability to film whenever and wherever without most people even knowing you are doing it. On top of that, concerns have been raised over the safety of such technology. Research has shown that holding mobile phones to our heads and standing in front of microwaves send signals and radiation near our brains and that this could possibly be a potential source of harm to the human brain. While studies in this area have not yet had a chance to produce lots of long-term studies on signals and their effects on the brain, much of the short-term studies have shown impacts to the brain from this kind of modern technology. Has anyone thought to do these sorts of studies with glasses that rest on our noses that send signals 24 hours a day?
Finally, companies like Google are not as well known as Apple for their electronic products (except for maybe Kindle) and many might be hesitant to blindly spend $1,500 on the launch day of a brand new technology for a relative newcomer to the electronic gadget world. For lack of better words, Google’s brand recognition when it comes to physical electronic products has not and likely will not produce the kind of “cult” fandom that spurs Apple users to shell out $500 for the same phone every 6 months. These are all valid points of concern that have weighed against the successful launch of Google Glass.