The moment Google Glass became a reality, I could see my potential relationship would be complicated. I already wear glasses for near-sightedness. So you might tell me to take a left at the next street, Glass on my face, but you couldn’t show me where the dividing line is.
I wasn’t alone, according to a report from CNN yesterday.
On Tuesday, Google announced it will add Google Glass options for prescription glasses, its most requested feature since it launched the face-mounted computers last year.
Then the moment Google Glass added an option for prescriptions, along came another potential problem, also mentioned on CNN, that “wearers can’t take them off without limiting their vision, and the Internet-enabled glasses aren’t welcome everywhere.”
They wouldn’t always be welcome by me either. Yes, you can turn Google Glass off, so that’s good, but there’s still a problem. Google Glass has been on our minds as a culture for long enough to develop multiple phobias about it. They don’t end with the Glass consumer, but include (legitimate) fears of surveillance and general annoyance with a technology literally dividing two people.
Just as I put my cell phone away to show I’m paying attention at a meeting, or ask permission to take someone’s picture at an event, the option to sheath my Glass would be a fundamental element of my using them in public places. I don’t want to be blinded by that desire. And I’m not going to carry a second pair of glasses with me. I will break them.
So the obvious solution is Glass adaptation to any glasses, which I assume Google is working toward. This answer from Google comforts me:
Glass is designed to be modular and extensible.
But there’s a problem, which Google can fix. Getting Glass off your frames is not a good option right now. Just look at the how-to (Step 2). It’s not easy, possibly for protection of the device, but also because of Google’s frame of mind. From CNN:
Google is betting that people will be so comfortable wearing Google Glass that they won’t have to choose between prescription glasses and Google Glass.
“We’re going to reach some day, hopefully it will be soon, where people will wonder ‘why would I want traditional glasses? They don’t do X, Y or Z,’ ” said Google Glass Product Director Steve Lee.
What I want, and believe I will always want, is transformative options. Yes, I love the idea of Google Glass, but as a consumer who cares about my life not becoming completely fused with technology, either in intra- or interpersonal situations, it’s important that my choices are easy enough to make for any given moment.
This, I feel, is the great fight all users should be having with all technologies. It’s one I’ve been having for two decades now. It’s just suddenly right before my eyes.