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4/15/2014
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Google Glass: 5 Reasons I Won't Buy

Google Glass is available for one day only to anyone willing to plunk down $1,500. Here's why I'm saying no.

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Seeking to expand its pool of user-testers, Google is making Google Glass, its camera-laden wearable computer, available to the general public for a single day. Previously, Glass was available only to select Explorers and those invited by the Explorers. The cost? A mere $1,500. Purchasing Glass will give buyers the chance to join a small but growing group of people willing to flaunt their nerdiness in public. Sound enticing? Not to me.

Here are five reasons I won't be rushing out to buy Google Glass today, or anytime soon.

1. Cost.
At $1,500, Google Glass doesn't come cheap. That's a lot of cash to front for a product with uncertain value. There are plenty of other things you can buy for $1,500: A really nice laptop; four Nexus 5 smartphones; six Chromebooks; three entry-level or two maxed-out Apple iPad Airs; a killer HDTV; a laptop, smartphone, and tablet … I could go on, but you get the idea.

2. I don't want to get beat up.
Over the weekend, Business Insider reporter Kyle Russell was assaulted for wearing Google Glass while walking down the street in San Francisco. He's not the first, and he probably won't be the last, to become the victim of a crime due to misconceptions about what Google Glass is and what it does. Russell wasn't using Glass when he was assaulted; it simply happened to be on his face, and there was no provocation -- a stranger ran up to him, grabbed Glass from his face, ran down the street, and smashed it. Russell wasn't injured, but others have been in similar attacks. (Many of these attacks have taken place in San Francisco, where the tech industry is facing a backlash from non-techie residents).

[Google Glass on the battlefield? Read Google Glass Tested For Air Force Jumps.]

3. The hardware isn't quite there yet.
I happen to like the general idea behind Google Glass, but I don't think it has reached its final form. Google hasn't tweaked Glass much in the year since it first hit Explorers' faces, but my guess is Google hasn't finished adjusting the product. Google is spelling out the trial status of the product quite clearly by calling users Explorers. Further, Google promised a consumer version of Google Glass would be available at some point for much less than $1,500.

4. Other wearables are more enticing.
The wearable computing device category is far from defined, but there are other products in the market that offer more utility -- smartwatches, for example. The current crop of wrist-based computers not only offers notifications and the ability to interact more fully with smartphones, but they double as music players, workout partners, and cameras. They also cost much less; most are priced between $150 and $300.

5. The 'Gl@sshole' effect.
Google Glass has received a somewhat cynical reaction from people around the world. Many fear it out of privacy concerns. Many think it is over-engineered to solve problems that don't exist. This generally negative view has prompted Google to set up a list of Dos and Don'ts for Explorers: Don't be creepy or rude; don't glass-out (pay attention to Glass so long you forget your surroundings); and don't wear it and expect to be ignored are just a few. Edward Snowden's NSA revelations have raised public awareness of privacy issues, and many Americans are now much more sensitive about their personal privacy. Google Glass's ability to clandestinely record video and take pictures has many people assuming the worst of Glass wearers.

I do think Google Glass is an interesting experiment. I hope Google is able to transition the product to something that's more useful, more accepted, and less expensive.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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6 one way half a dozen another
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6 one way half a dozen another,
User Rank: Strategist
4/15/2014 | 2:41:56 PM
other wearables
From what I have read, other wearables need to be synced to a phone; they do not operate independently. But that doesn't make the case for Glass per se. You also forgot that Glass is still really ugly in current design.
builder7
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builder7,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 2:34:09 PM
Re: This article reminds me of every new tech in the past.
Yeah, you gotta watch out for all of those oldies out there!  They are just waiting for you go grow up.  Also, the kids think that you are an oldie with old ideas too.  Just remember - change is constant  and we all get old so don't worry about it so much.
ChuckS781
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ChuckS781,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 2:30:21 PM
There is potential!
As a runner and cyclist, I envision having visual output of my pace, heart rate, time, power, cadence, etc, even GPS while I'm riding is a benefit.  Would love to have a rear facing camera also so I could see traffic approaching from the rear. Could also see it being used with a range finder for use on the golf course!  
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
4/15/2014 | 2:22:53 PM
Re: Reality check
That's right - there's no purpose to put Glass to as yet, and I'm not a developer, so I'm not going to be one of those who eventually WILL develop apps that will be irresistible. The obvious application that I can imagine is the ability to see maps and while you're driving without taking your eyes off the road. The possibilities are truly endless, and at least a few times a month, on this very website I read about deep-pocketed organizations with long time-frames who are developing those possibilities. Best of all, by the time those apps are ready for prime-time, the cost of Glass will likely have come down from the stratosphere.

 
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2014 | 2:22:38 PM
Re: This article reminds me of every new tech in the past.
Anon3606[...] makes a fair point. Was there really a need for a cell phone when people made due with a landline for years? Probably not, but the convenience factor drove adoption. Is there a convenience factor with Google Glass? Perhaps, but time will tell.
browsgux
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browsgux,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 2:09:01 PM
Glass
I am sure this glass will have some specific application for which it is used just the way the Segway became the transit method for the Mall Security crew.  Current users I've run into, behave as though they are in a cult, that doesn't appear very desireable to join.   It might be a device for journalists or law enforcement where recording what you see can aid your situation.

 
anon1921950389
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anon1921950389,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 2:00:31 PM
I won't be buying because there is no reason to yet.
Simply put, so far there is no really compelling reason for me to want this product (Other than the urge to open a shiny new gadget box). Every use for them so far is just as easily done on my phone - at least for me.

Don't get me wrong - I am sure that in a few narrow niches, there is a real use for this tech. It's just, as it is, there is nothing on Glass that hits me as something I need to have in front of my eyes. Perhaps someday there will be the killer app that shows me the use of it, but not right now - and until it pops up, $1,500 is just to expensive to use on something that has no use.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
4/15/2014 | 1:49:51 PM
Re: Google Glass - Five Reasons i Won't Buy
See our related article: Google Glass Gets Down To Business. Do you think the Segway comparison is fair?
anon3606500067
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anon3606500067,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 1:43:54 PM
This article reminds me of every new tech in the past.
There were a kazillion articles how they wouldn't buy a smartphone, or a tablet, or a laptop, etc. 

Anyone remember when engineers still used a pencil and ruler to draw up plans instead of using one of the various CAD programs out there?  I remember when my company made the switch there were some oldies that insisted they would never ever ever ever trust a computer to do a real man's job.

Fast foward to now.  My company is building a line of business app to allow integration of work related tasks between the engineers.  And lo and behold we already got several angry protests from the oldies in the company.  They like their pen and paper more than using a windows tablet.  I'm one of the field testers.  One old guy has been consistently calling my reports "fake reports" because they are generated printouts instead of pen and paper. 

The point is I don't know if glass will succeed or not.  What I do know is all the bloggers/writers who always say they would never buy this or that have all been wrong before.  And if it were up to people like the writer of this article, we would still be writing with hammer and chisel instead of computer keyboard and the internet.
anon9419352942
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anon9419352942,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 1:30:19 PM
Google Glass - Five Reasons i Won't Buy
> Many think it is over-engineered to solve problems that don't exist.

That describes pretty much everything these Silicon Valley techies have come up with in the past 5-7 years.

 
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