Are Google Glasses the Great Game Changer or a Passing Fad?

By Carl Weiss

As a kid, I remember the ads in the backs of magazines showing cool gadgets and seemingly magical devices. I remember the ad for X-ray Glasses, Space Helmets, hand held communications and other futuristic promises that were yet to come. Jump 50 years forward and we have space helmets, smartphones and Google Glasses. I know, they are not X-rays Glasses but they have stirred a hornets nest of controversy even though they can see through your clothes.

There has never before been such controversy over a technology that has yet to reach store shelves.  This wearable computing device is going to take technology to a whole new level… literally.  The device itself sports nothing radically new.  All the devices and operations performed by Glass are available on any Smartphone or tablet PC.  Voice actuated, record video, take pictures, run apps etc… What seems to be causing all the anger is the fact that Google Glass is a camera/video platform that can start snapping pictures and make video recordings without being noticed.  This has caused a number of institutions to ban their use and has spawned a number of legislators to consider legislation to limit when and where people can use Glass.

No Glass Allowed

Most movie theaters already forbid customers from bringing in audio or video recording devices, but the more subtle Google Glass could add another wrinkle to those policies. Lawmakers in West Virginia have attempted to make it illegal to drive wearing the connected eyewear, while casinos that normally prohibit recording devices are also likely to enact rules for wearing the glasses in sensitive gaming areas.

In a blog on idigitaltimes called, “5 Places Your Futuristic Eyewear is Not Welcome”: Dave Meinert, who runs the 5 Point CafĂ© in Seattle, said that Google Glass users would have to take off their high tech eyewear if they want to enter. He has put up a sign that reads: "Respect our customers' privacy as we'd expect them to respect yours." 

Parks departments across the country are just itching for the chance to call a ban on Google Glass, according to the Daily Mail. "This is the ultimate snooper's gizmo. If you walk around with a video camera filming, it's obvious what you're doing, but with Google Glass, it's much, much more invasive," Dan Tench, of legal firm Olswang, told the Daily Mail.

West Virginian lawmakers are working on the passage of a bill to ban Google Glass while driving. They say that the advanced computerized eyewear could become another distraction for drivers, the Star Tribune reported. They have offered an amendment to include language that would make it illegal to "use a wearable computer with head mounted display" while driving.

Whether any of these prohibitions are even constitutional will need to stand the test of time.  What is certain is that with only 2,000 pairs of Google Glasses roaming the planet at present, this is only the tip of the techno-hysteria iceberg.  What will happen once glass reaches store shelves is anybody’s guess.  Of course, whether the device will be adopted by the general public at all is still uncertain,

The Geek Factor

English: photo of someone wearing a Google NOO...
English: photo of someone wearing a Google NOOGLER hat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Already detractors have been pointing out everything from the obvious loss of style points that Glass wearers will need to deal with two skits on Saturday Night Live that make Glass users seem like the ultimate geeks.  And while there have been other notable tech concepts that have bombed big time in the past, such as Apple’s Newton, it will be interesting to see whether the urge to be a Borg will outweigh the giggle factor in the long run.

Will Glass Suffer Newton's Fate?

If you will recall, Apple Computer introduced the Newton in 1993 as one of the first personal digital assistants in existence.  This was in the days before Smartphones or tablet PC’s were invented.  Still the device’s resemblance to earlier technology cannot be denied. Equipped with a pen-stylus that enabled users to draw or write notes on the device that would be automatically be translated into text, Newton came equipped with a limited number of applications designed to untether a computer user from their PC.  While clearly ahead of its time, the Newton was considered a failure and was dropped in 1998.

Two Apple mobile devices based on ARM processo...
Two Apple mobile devices based on ARM processors. 162MHz on the Newton, 412MHz on the iPhone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So is it possible that Glass could suffer the same fate?  Unlike Newton, Glass can do much more than read and write.  Google has been already wooing app developers as well as predicting that the wearable-computer market could be as big as $6 billion by 2016.  Like Smartphones, which were considered a niche product for the first few years after their introduction, time will tell whether Glass or any imitators that arise in the next couple of years can overcome the stigma of sporting these all-too-obvious devices, as well as the high cost of ownership.  

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “Google glass” or "Google" in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," fill out the form below.

Thanks for sharing your time with me. 

Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on

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