Thursday, July 05, 2012

Google's Project Glass - it's not for the young

I've changed my mind about Project Glass. I thought it was proof that Brin's vast wealth had driven him mad, and that Google was doing a high speed version of Microsoft's trajectory.

Now I realize that there is a market.

No, not the models who must, by now, be demanding triple rates to appear in Google's career-ending ads.

No, not even Google's geeks, who must be frantically looking for new employment.

No, the market is old people. Geezers. People like me; or maybe me + 5-10 years.

We don't mind that Google Glass looks stupid -- we're ugly and we know it.

We don't mind that Google Glass makes us look like Borg -- we're already good with artificial hips, knees, lenses, bones, ears and more. Nature is overrated and wears out too soon.

We don't mind wearing glasses, we need them anyway.

We don't mind having something identifying people for us,  recording where we've been and what we've done, selling us things we don't need, and warning us of suspicious strangers and oncoming traffic. We are either going to die or get demented, and the way medicine is going the latter is more likely. We need a bionic brain; an ever present AI keeping us roughly on track and advertising cut-rate colonoscopy.

Google Glass is going to be very big. It just won't be very sexy.


Anonymous said...

I expect it to be big in share trading...
Imagine the constant live stock information streaming past your eyes...

Be neat for mechanics as well... with overlays of information about the engine they're looking at...

Anonymous said...

I'm confused as to why the Google Geeks are looking for other employment. Google seems to be going from strength to strength at the moment, surely they wouldn't want to leave that.

There will be huge markets for it and in time it may become sexy - I'm thinking contact lens style. Just remember that it started much much bigger than that.

John Gordon said...

The vertical industry examples (trading, mechanics, surgeons, etc) are hard to predict. I'm not a mechanic, but I suspect they know their parts pretty well. The real benefit might be to someone trying an engine repair at home.

It could certainly work as an alternative to robotic device displays for surgeons. And, of course, as long expected, for airplane flight entertainment.

Think of these examples, the Segway comes to mind. It had a similar hyped introduction, then a mundane but useful reality ... waiting for a world where CO2 emissions are taxed.

I think I have a Whole Earth Catalog article from the 80s or 90s on VR displays. If I get the time I'll scan and post. Be interesting reading today. I believe those examples were part of the article.

I don't see this thing winning adoption because of a fun factor; thought I do admit even I have been seen walking about and reading my iPhone.

It has to provide a substantial competitive advantage. Warfare is an obvious example, and headup displays are already in use. Elderly and special needs are another. Football coaches. Bodyguards ....

But I think the big market is the elderly (not entirely joking).

John Gordon said...

The Googlers looking for other employment was rhetorical exaggeration - guilty!

I really don't know what Googlers think about the company. I imagine, like most of us, they know they work for a large profit-seeking corporation and they make their peace with that.

Contact lens might be popular; though quite a few people have trouble even with gas permeable lenses (esp. over age 40 - eyes too dry). That's singularity-level tech, at which point all bets are silly.

As for strength-to-strength, my view of Google is very narrow -- limited to the services I use (such as blogger, gmail, chrome, search, apps, etc - but not Android). I use a ton of Google services, but since the G+ introduction they've all become less appealing to me. Not unappealing, but less appealing. (My blogs are overfull of my G+ complaints, so I won't repeat here.)

So for me, they're following the path I remember from Microsoft -- great products (Word/Excel were quite good once, Win2K was excellent) to mediocre products to profitable mediocrity.