Google Glass: Should next-generation wearables be fashionable?

Posted by Rachael Pullen on March 25, 2014

Google has announced today that it is teaming up with big name designers Ray-Ban and Oakley to try and make their wearable product, Google Glass, more appealing for your everyday consumer. But I have to question if this is really necessary?

I think Google Glass is a really cool product – and I can really see the advantages that its continued development will give to industry. Think about a field engineer. He’s out in the field on a normal working day, he needs to get to a burst water main, he asks the glasses to give him directions and off he goes as satellite navigation appears in the glasses. He arrives on site and needs to update the office – he speaks and the glasses send a message. He speaks again and the glasses take a picture of the site. He needs some support from a colleague, with a simple touch of a button he can share what he is seeing with a senior engineer in the back office. Completing the task he videos what he has done for future reference. All hands free, not a smart phone, laptop or Toughbook in sight.

However, I have to question whether your run of the mill Joe Blogs would really choose to use Google Glass over their smart phone?

I can see that all the features mentioned in the scenario above would work individually for a consumer, but in order to gain the benefit you would have to be wearing the glasses all the time. You don’t currently have your smart phone out all the time, ready to launch your sat nav app or take a video at any given moment so why would you need Google Glass?

A group of people who have been trialling the new smart eye wear have come across many issues wearing the glasses – even being given their own nickname “Glassholes.” According to a recent report one person from this group (who call themselves the “Explorers” – way to go Google in making the product less “geeky”) got stopped and given a ticket for wearing them whilst driving, whilst another gentleman was thrown out of a cinema after being accused of secretly recording the film.

I have to admit, I find the whole Google Glass as a consumer product a little creepy. I openly admit it – I would look at someone wearing them and think “what are you doing”? You couldn’t wear them to a meeting for that very purpose or an interview or on a date for example, and for that reason alone I can’t see the purpose of employing fashion designers to make them look pretty, in much the same way that I wouldn’t expect them to for a pair of steel toecap boots.

In my opinion, Google Glass should remain firmly in the workplace where its use has real purpose and where how it looks isn’t important but how it functions.

What do you think…Does Google Glass have a place in the consumer market?