Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Google Glass Can Now...

I've had my doubts about Google Glass for some time, and not just because I'm not one of the beta testers.  I don't think I can be - I wear actual glasses to see with, and I've never seen any explanation of how a four-eye like me could even put them on.  Over my glasses?  I don't think so.  My metaphysical objection to Google Glass is that it - they? - make it way too easy to get lost in your little digital world, and to forget that your physical body is doing something actually dangerous, like driving a car, or crossing a street.  After all, those are two of the most dangerous things you can do these days, in terms of the death rate.

Google Glass strikes me as a solution in search of a problem to solve.  It can do some very useful things - but that tiny heads-up display could all too easily be a fatal distraction.  Yes, military pilots use heads-up displays in very tough situations, but they also go through hours of intensive training.  Sooner or later Google Glass will kill someone - a man merely texting while driving just killed two people in Santa Rosa (of course, he was also high).  (Sorry, the article is behind a paywall but you can see the headline and summary.)  I'm not the only one who thinks this, either; San Francisco Chronicle columnist C. W. Nevius came to the same conclusion about 10 days ago.

It wouldn't break my heart if Google Glass never came out of beta. But it almost certainly will, and now we learn there will shortly be a video game for Google Glass.  Oh, great, a video game.  Even better, the game is "Global Food Fight."  I am not making this up.  You will now be able to walk down the street, wearing your Google Glass, weaving and bobbing your head and shoulders back and forth to control a Global Food Fight game that only you can see.  Isn't that precious?  Take a minute and imagine what it will look like. And somebody will do that - it's inevitable.

Cell phones are bad enough, useful as they are.  In the bad old days when phones lived in phone booths, if a man walked down the street gesturing and talking loudly to himself, you could assume he was crazy.  Now if a man does that (or a woman), you have to look for the Bluetooth headset before you write them off as short a couple of shingles.

I never walk down the street talking on the phone.  It's a great way to get your phone stolen.

Imagine the joy of watching a Google Glass wearer bobbing and weaving down the street, indulging in a Global Food Fight.  Now imagine them playing the game and talking to someone on the phone about it.  Since Google Glass is a Bluetooth headset, they'll be walking along, talking to themselves, moving their head back and forth and shrugging their shoulders...

After all, as the article says, a virtual food fight game "is a fun way to engage people to play with the potential of this new device."

And of course, in San Francisco, it's possible that no one would notice.

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