Google Glass is finding its way to developers and others and the reaction has been, well, predictable.
So far, there are those who think that Glass will absolutely change the world, that it’s our version of the flying car. Those people are full of shit. On the other side of the coin, there are those who say that Glass will never find a place in the hearts of consumers, that it’s unnecessary and that Google is just trying to be cool. Those people are also full of shit.
The problem is that when new things are introduced, people don’t know how to react, so they go to what they know. There’s either delirious glee or there’s immediate doom and gloom. The fact of the matter is that nobody knows what the future of Glass looks like. Not even Google. This is the very reason why the device was seeded with developers first: Their applications will be what makes the product interesting or not. If iPhone developers had been the only ones with an iPhone, then they would have been called names, too. It’s just the nature of the tech beast.
I was around for the launch of the iPhone, the device that some, including Steve Jobs, said would revolutionize the way we do everything. For the most part, it has in many ways. When it launched, I remember handing my precious cellular device to people who couldn’t wait to take it for a spin. They spent about five minutes tapping around and then handed it back, saying things like “Oh, well I guess that’s cool.” It wasn’t until the App Store was introduced until the real power of the iPhone came into play. Surfing the web, checking stock and weather information and reading your email wasn’t all that amazing and magical.
Here’s CNET’s “Bottom Line” on the original iPhone in 2007:
Despite some important missing features, a slow data network, and call quality that doesn’t always deliver, the Apple iPhone sets a new benchmark for an integrated cell phone and MP3 player.
Is that how you’d explain the iPhone now? Not really.
Then, you had this wonderful moment…
During that clip, Steve Ballmer showed himself to lack the vision to even think about creating a device that could unlock the potential of so many different people, be it developers or consumers. That’s exactly the reaction I’m seeing on the doom-and-gloom side of the coin for Glass.
Just today, Business Insider wrote “The Verdict Is In: Nobody Likes Google Glass.” There were some fair points raised in that piece, but like most things that have been written about Glass, the broader points are being missed. What will Glass do for developers who are looking to stretch their brains, and talents, on a platform that could be on the face of consumers in the next year or so? It’s too early to tell, of course.
There will be a killer app for Glass, mark my words. I have no idea what it will be. There was a killer app for the iPhone very early on, one called Urbanspoon. Get this, you could shake your phone and you’d get a random suggestion on where to eat. That action and experience could never be done on a phone until the iPhone. You’re going to see the same types of applications pop up for Glass, ones that we’ve never imagined.
Until these apps start being built, we’re stuck with people trying to get attention by wearing the device in the shower and swearing to never take them off, or people trying to predict how it will completely bomb and never see store shelves at all. It’s a time that we went through once before, with the iPhone. Apple stayed the course, navigated its way through those bumpy times and came out on the other side. Will Google be able to do the same? There’s no reason to think they can’t, and there’s no reason to think they can.
We’re just going to have to wait.
If you haven’t noticed, waiting isn’t a strong suit of those in the tech space. However, Ballmer should have waited until he shared his opinion on the iPhone publicly, but then again…it was pretty predictable.