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5/15/2013
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Google Glass 'Socially Awkward,' Americans Say

Only 10% of Americans would wear Google Glass regularly, according to a recent survey.

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Blame it on Fred Armisen and that Google Glass-skewering Saturday Night Live skit. Google Glass may be one of the most interesting pieces of technology to come along in recent years, but the majority of Americans wouldn't be caught dead wearing them.

A survey conducted by Bite Interactive, which collected responses from 1,000 people, revealed that only one out of 10 people in the U.S. would wear Google Glass regularly. The reason behind Americans' fear of Google Glass? They're "too socially awkward." Armisen made this point all too clear in a nationally televised parody of using them around other people.

"Google Glass represents a profound social barrier for the average consumer," Joseph Farrell, executive VP of operations at Bite Interactive, explained to Mashable, which posted the study's results. "At best, they see a Glass user as someone who prioritizes information access over a personal connection with others. At worst, they fear social sleights of hand: researching topics, recording video or Googling a person in mid-conversation."

Surely, the $1,500 price tag is an issue for many. Even if it cost dramatically less, however, 38% of respondents said they still wouldn't wear it. This isn't to say that Google Glass adoption isn't without hope.

[ Can Google eventually get the last laugh? Read Google Glass Gets Smeared: 11 Improvement Ideas. ]

Of the 10% of people who said they'd wear Google Glass regularly, 44% cited the camera and picture-taking ability as their top interest. Other uses people liked included the ability to make phone calls, cited by 39% of people, and its video recording powers, cited by 37%.

"Google is leading the wearable technology bubble as it looks to define what the next consumer screen will be," said Farrell. "Google's past successes have occurred when they provide an innovative product that solves a real consumer need. However, with Glass it looks like Google risks exposing a serious disconnect between its pioneering technology and the key problem it solves."

Google Glass is currently in beta, but it is being tested publicly. It isn't expected to become widely available in a more consumer-friendly package until about this time next year. InformationWeek's Tom Claburn recently pointed out how etiquette is still developing around the product. It is certainly breaking new barriers in terms of technology and when and where it is appropriate to use items that can clandestinely take pictures.

"Overall, what Glass offers is combination of high social rejection with features the average person simply doesn't value over their current smartphone," said Farrell.

It is worth noting that there are about 140 million Americans who own smartphones. If only 10% of them buy or wear Google Glass, Google is still looking at a 14 million person market. That's no small shakes.

What do you think? Is Google Glass something you'd wear? Is the price going to be a barrier even if it's dropped below the $500 mark? What are the Google Glass features you find most interesting and potentially useful? Please dive in.

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Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/16/2013 | 1:27:09 PM
re: Google Glass 'Socially Awkward,' Americans Say
Though I ridiculed it early on and wondered whether there would be any interest in it, I think a lower price and app development will help Google Glass's appeal to at least more than one in 10 people. Plus, there is always room for aesthetic improvement and integration with the prescription glasses-wearing population.
Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/16/2013 | 1:08:39 PM
re: Google Glass 'Socially Awkward,' Americans Say
As I said in a different thread, I just don't see this product as a good use of Google's time and resources. Other than the 'awkward factor' -- I worry that such a device will prove just as distracting, if not moreso , than someone walking down the street with their eyes down towards their smartphone screen.

Despite the fact that that the individual is wearing 'glasses' I can see how some folks would be focusing too much at the images in front of their eyes rather than oncoming pedestrians or (shudder) traffic.

I'm sure wearable devices will indeed have their time. I'm just not sure it's now.

Tom LaSusa
Community Manager.
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