Google’s Sergey Brin demonstrates Google Glass.
Photo: David Paul Morris / Bloomberg via Getty Images
When Google Glass was launched in 2013, it was meant to be the future: lightweight augmented reality glasses that could take photographs and give instructions from the nose. As you know – now that we are in the future – it did not work. But calling it a total failure would also seem unfair, as in 2019, six years after the first prototype appeared, Google Glass fans still haunt the Internet – particularly on Reddit, where r / googleglass continues to see updates years after its namesake. the heyday passed. Yes, there are still “glass holes”. And honestly? They are very cool.
A primer on Google Glass, in case you blink and miss the cultural moment or just have better things to do in 2013. Google Glass was officially launched that year, first to select developers and then for the general public. A pair sold for $ 1,500, meaning owning a pair was a kind of statement. It said I can afford to spend a whole month’s rent on this piece of experimental technology and I am not ashamed of your awareness of this fact, as I am using this technology on my face. My colleague, technology writer at Intelligencer, Jake Swearingen, once described using Google Glass as “looking like the most enthusiastic laser tag player in the world. ”It’s a description that stayed with me. The Now Image highly criticized technologist Robert Scoble wearing yours Google Glass in the shower also stayed with me.
It took two seconds for the world to declare the experimental device expensive and scary. Certain device users have been proclaimed “glassholes”- Think of the type of person you may have called an“ idiot ”, now with AR-enabled frames hit in the face. Someone created a Wi-Fi interference program, Glassholes.sh, specifically to offend them. The death clock beetle played loud and fast for Google Glass. In New York Times, in May 2013, months before Google Glass was available for purchase:
The eyeglass-like device, which allows users to access the Internet, take pictures and film short clips, was preventively banned by a Seattle bar. Large parts of Las Vegas do not accept users. West Virginia lawmakers tried to make it illegal to use the gadget, known as Google Glass, while driving.
Google did its best to combat the accusations of cunning. Google Glass requires that speech or touch be activated, which would ostensibly lead to someone around you. If you wanted to film someone, you had to be looking directly at them. But it was not enough. People just weren’t ready for Google Glass. The same Times the story references an incident at a programming conference in 2013, in which an engineer tweeted a photo of a man she overheard making an inappropriate joke. “She gave me no warning, smiled as she took the photo and sealed my fate,” said the man, who was later fired, about the incident. Today, this interaction seems common. Of course, it is still uncomfortable and inappropriate to have your image posted on the Internet without your consent – see the disgusting saga of #PlaneBae – but now we operate in a world where a stranger using a device to sneak pictures of you is just reality. Google Glass arrived very early for the party. Possibly still particularly scary, but mostly early. Furthermore, it didn’t help that your everyday Glass user (or as common as someone with $ 1,500 to spend on it) might not be wandering politely. They were, if we want to believe the headlines, your face about it.
In January 2015, Google announced in a whisper that the Glassholes’ reign of terror had ended: the company would no longer be developing Google Glass. That was not the end of the wearable AR project, however. Google turned to the business sector; in 2017, launched the Glass Enterprise Edition for workplaces like factories. (In addition to modifications for workers, the device now has a red light, like those on video cameras, to indicate when it is recording.)
And, as it turned out, it was also not the end of OG GG. The glass holes still exist, not just as a bogeyman haunting the tech section of your newspaper. There is still a small group of fans chatting, updating, buying and selling on Reddit. Someone who bought a pair for $ 150 and wants help using the device to display sheet music; someone with questions about installing an older operating system on Glass Enterprise; another person looking for foldable pictures; someone trying to repair a broken device; people who want to buy, as well as several people asking if it is worth spending some money on the now defunct technology. (Spoiler: research says it is not.) Also, strangely, someone asks if Google has put Google Glass in place of “because “someone” became aware of Dave Eggers’ book “The Circle”?
Reading the forum, it seems wrong to consider the ever smaller / r / googleglass regulars as Glassholes. On the contrary, they seem to blow up their devices at incredibly appropriate times. “I practically only use Glass to take photos and videos while running / hiking or anywhere I don’t have access to a phone or don’t want to charge it” write a Redditor. “It’s a great way to capture the highlights of a marathon, for example, without having to stop and remove the phone.” “Text notifications. Phone calls while driving, pix and video on the move ”, writes another. “I used it to record chemistry experiments and reaction settings,” writes another person. If you have ideas to describe these users, you will probably find adjectives like “healthy” or “nerd”. Asshole-ish, or Glasshole-ish, would not be among them.
After spending some time combing through the posts of members of / r / googleglass, it became clear that no one there is using the devices on an especially frequent basis or trying to integrate technology into their daily lives. “Personally, I took the dust off to use on vacation,” writes one user trying to convince another not to bother buying the device. “If you plan to buy it as a relic of old technology, for sure. Use? No, it is not a good idea. “(Using Google Glass only to take photos and videos is less in touch with the original view of AR and more similar to Snapchat glasses, sunglasses with a built-in camera.) Right now, owning Google Glass is like buying a vintage typewriter that you don’t really intend to use. You buy to own it; remember a specific moment in time – and, to be honest, present yourself as the type of person concerned with remembering that specific moment in time – keeping that moment on your shelf.
Anyway, as a Redditor points out, using Google Glass requires a Google+ account. Google Google+ closed in October 2018, after a security breach exposed the data of half a million people.