You can’t accuse Google’s Sergey Brin of not doing his level best to promote Glass, with the co-founders comments that current smartphones are “emasculating” us in our inter-personal relationships coming as the #ifihadglass promo for the second round of units closes. “Is this the way you’re meant to interact with other people?” Brin asked rhetorically at the TED conference this week, describing the current smartphone paradigm as one long bout of touchscreen rubbing, and revealing a vested interest in promoting wearables since he himself is a phone addict.
“The cell phone is a nervous habit — If I smoked, I’d probably smoke instead” Brin explained. “But I whip this out and look as if I have something important to do. It really opened my eyes to how much of my life I spent secluding myself away in email.”
In contrast, Glass epitomizes the new approach to search that Google previewed with Google Now; as Android designer Matias Duarte described it to us at Mobile World Congress this week, a more “confident” engine that replaces page after page of “maybes” with a few, more focused suggestions as to what it thinks users are looking for. Glass comes to that in part because of its form-factor – unlike the expansive display of a smartphone, there’s only a small window onto the digital world – but also because of how it will be used, with the wearer regularly dipping into their online life and needing immediacy in its responses.
That immediacy and purpose will, Brin hopes, cut down on the current addiction of staring at a phone display. “It’s kind of emasculating” he argued. “Is this what you’re meant to do with your body?
The first batch of Glass Explorer Edition units, put up for sale at Google IO 2012 midway through last year, are yet to ship, and developers who preordered the $1,500 headsets are yet to even see their credit cards charged. Meanwhile, the #ifihadglass promotion came to an end at midnight last night, with thousands of entries – many of which are more tongue-in-cheek than serious about potential Glass applications – on Twitter and on Google+.
Next stage is a panel of independent judges who will sift through the entries and pick out the 8,000 they believe best epitomise the potential of the wearable. Those who made the suggestions will be invited to stump up $1,500 for an early unit (though they’ll have to wait until after the first batch of IO orders ship, Google has said), with commercial availability – at a lower price – tipped before the end of the year.