Google Glass goes on the defensive
Facing a loud backlash well before its launch, Google last week in a Google+ post addressed 10 "myths" around Google Glass.
The criticism — including outright bans at restaurants and early testers being called "glassholes" — comes from people creeped out by being potentially recorded or even just viewed by people while they’re online.
"Myths can be fun, but they can also be confusing or unsettling," Google wrote in the post. "And if spoken enough, they can morph into something that resembles fact."
Here, a paraphrasing of Google’s response to myths around Glass:
Myth 1 – Glass is the ultimate distraction from the real world: Instead of looking down at your cell phone, computer or tablet, Glass "allows you to look up and engage with the world."
Myth 2: Glass is always on and recording everything: Video is off by default and set to last only 10 seconds when recording. "Always-on recording" would kill the battery in 45 minutes.
Myth 3 – Glass Explorers are technology-worshipping geeks: Parents, firefighters, zookeepers, brewmasters, film students, reporters and doctors are among the early Glass testers.
Myth 4 – Glass is ready for prime time: It’s still in prototype stage and will be for some time. "In the future, today’s prototype may look as funny to us as that mobile phone from the mid 80s."
Myth 5: Glass does facial recognition (and other dodgy things): It doesn’t and "just because a weird application is created, doesn’t mean it’ll get distributed in our MyGlass store."
Myth 6: Glass covers your eye(s): It sits above the right eye "because we understand the importance of making eye contact and looking up and engaging with the world, rather than down at your phone."
Myth 7 – Glass is the perfect surveillance device: "Much better cameras out there than one you wear conspicuously on your face."
Myth 8 – Glass is only for those privileged enough to afford it: Many early users of the prototype, which costs $1500, had work pay for it, raised money on Kickstarter and Indiegogo to buy it, or received it as a gift.
Myth 9 – Glass is banned … everywhere: The same guidelines around recording with cell phones (locker rooms, casino floors, etc.) apply to Glass.
Myth 10 – Glass marks the end of privacy: Cameras are everywhere.
Many bloggers argued that Glass would inevitably be only for the privileged and that facial recognition would arrive regardless. Despite omni-present cameras, a device camera-ready at all times may further reduce privacy and life’s spontaneity. Wrote Thomas Claburn for InformationWeek, "Some things in life are best experienced in all their glorious impermanence, unrecorded and unmediated."
On the plus side, Google was roundly praised for stressing that Glass is a prototype and given credit for their unusual lengthy public test of the device. The product expected to come out in late 2014.
- The Top 10 Google Glass Myths – Google+
- Google Myth-Busts the Nonsense That ‘Glass is Ready for Prime Time’ – CIO
- Google Goes Mythbusting About Google Glass – Mashable
- Google: No, no. You’ve got Glass all wrong – CNET
- Google Glass Myths, Translated – InformationWeek
- Explorers Do’s and Don’ts – Google
Has Google adequately defended itself against negative reactions to Google Glass? Which concerns expressed in the backlash will likely be the most challenging for Glass to overcome?