Will Google Glass Survive The New Style Trends?
by alaska303 | on February 25, 2013
A lucky few Americans will try Google Glass. The rest of us
will have to look at them.
Google Glass is a ground-breaking Augmented Reality gadget. It’s also an item of clothing. As Google runs a
contest to choose a select few early adopters, the rest of us need to prepare for a world where friends and
colleagues are wearing Google Glass on their face. And let’s say you end up being one of the lucky few. Do
you want to be seen wearing one? We talked to fashion experts to discuss how the Google Glass gadget works
as an accessory.
To start, let’s examine, Google Glass promo video, called How it Feels.
There are two particularly interesting things about the video. The first is that precisely one other person is seen
wearing Google Glass, and it’s a fellow sky-diver covered in safety gear. The second is that one of the shots is
from the POV of a model on a runway. We suspect that the first fact belies the message of the second: Runway
model or no, Google Glass isn’t all that great to look at.
It’s clear that Google is conscious of the fashion implications of a gadget that you wear on your face, and they
are trying to position it as a high end item of style. After Sergey Brin jumped out of a zeppelin for I/O, the next
place Google Glass debuted was New York Fashion Week 2012.
But anyone who’s ever tried to buy a pair of sun or regular glasses knows exactly how hard it is to make
something that frames the face nicely. “If my buyer came to me and said he just purchased 1000 units that
looked like the Google Glass he would be fired,” says Jonathan Muller, CEO of Gaffos.com, a retailer of
“Regarding the design as a form of function, Google Glass works, however you have to consider that people
who wear glasses (or even sunglasses) wear them to fit their style profile,” says Muller. “If Google Glass can
meld Italian design with its current technology, they might have a winner.”
Google Glass. So far, this is less cyberpunk and more grandpa’s clip-ons.
Steve Jobs famously said that design is “not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” But
when it comes to something sitting on your face, what it looks like matters a whole lot.
“Google is no Apple when it comes to design, the iconic white earphone, even though they could be
considered a fashion are not a fashion accessory. Earphones, don’t have to fit someone’s face shape or match
an outfit,” says Muller.
“It’s taken a futuristic approach in design, not something I would call ‘in style’,” he says, “At this point the
Google Glass will not appeal to the mainstream (it just seems like a forehead mounted live camera) and might
be relegated to the tech crowd in Silicon Valley and New York.”
That may not be such a problem for Google for now, says Jay Owens, an analyst and researcher with Face.
“It’s as non-offensive as it could possibly be. It’s fine – and that’s not faint praise at all,” she says. “The whole
point is for it to disappear as ‘techie thing’ or ‘status symbol’ and to become essential, can’t-live-without
Until Google Glass does disappear, it’s going to look weird when you look at someone using one. The fact of
having one will mark you out as exclusive and special. “Google Glass will say, for a bit — ‘Look, I have
$1500 on my face — and privileged early adopter access’,” says Owens. It’s not dissimilar to the signalling of
high end watches. “Watches are rarely fashion at all, they’re just a way of saying ‘Look I have £10,000 round
If anything, Owens says, Google Glass may have jumped the gun by offering even different colours this early
in the game. “Perhaps it’s just because, as the first device of its kind on the market, emotionally I want it to
present a singular, crystal clear vision: ‘This. Is It.’ I want to be seduced by the idea, or by technology, or even
just the abstracted notions of ‘interface’ or ‘seamless digital-physical worlds’.”
Depending on who you ask, Google Glass either comes in too many or not enough
Owens worries more about what it will be like to interact with someone who is wearing Google Glass. Though
the most recent video shows off people recording what they’re doing and making use of things like driving
apps to be more present, you may recall the old demo video that features a dude learning to play the ukulele
while being bombarded with notifications.
That’s what we already struggle with when we have a phone on the table, Owens says. An ambient awareness
means constant distraction, and a sense that we’re not all there. “Google Glass just puts this on your face and
in front of your eyes: in the foreground of our vision. It makes explicit the fact that we all will stop mid-
sentence and blank people mid-conversation should we feel the ping! of an incoming message notification.”
In the end the people wearing Google Glass are going to have to contend with the same forces that have made
wearing a Bluetooth headset a faux-pas in almost every circumstance. They look weird, and they signal to the
people with you that your mind is elsewhere.
“There will be genuine UX design reasons for early adopters to wear them everywhere in public,” says Owens,
“but I’m afraid my instinctual reaction is still ‘God, you utter pretentious twat.’ Special occasions only, I
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Re-posted by Hank Klinger
Will Google Glass Survive The New Style