Excited as I was to be invited to Google's private Explorers program, two realities quickly set in: I still needed to pay full price for the privilege to test Google Glass, which comes in at a cool $1500. Even if I came up with the money, I'd still have to foot the bill for traveling to New York City to pick up the Glass in person. Yeah, right.
While I can't wait to see how Glass can shape and augment our interactions with technology and the world around us, there are some understandable concerns that come with wearing a device on your face with a camera, always-on Internet connection, and location tracking. Chief among the concerns are privacy and etiquette.
The most common argument people fall back on: "I don't want to sit down with someone at dinner who is wearing Google Glass. It's creepy and inconsiderate."
Google has time until Glass is widely available, and they have time to determine how to market it. If it is marketed as a device you put on in the morning and take off before bed, they've already failed. If they let the thread of thinking that it's an accessory you should wear at the dinner table continue to run wild, it's doomed to the same fate as the Segway and Bluetooth headset.
Most people consider it rude to wear sunglasses indoors. Yet when I worked in retail, there was always someone, inside, talking to me one-on-one while wearing their sunglasses. That's a jerk move. Just like taking up two parking spaces is a jerk move. Glass indoors or in a personal setting should be regarded similarly.
But let's also get over the notion that you have privacy in public. People take pictures with their smartphones and post them to Instagram or Twitter or Facebook without asking you. Have you ever seen a hidden camera show? People have been wearing glasses and secretly recording others for decades.
There's a smart conversation about Glass and some of the real issues on an episode of The Talk Show with John Gruber and Marco Arment. Marco brings up the point that older generations may not get it, like older generations may have been uncomfortable with the idea people were snapping pictures with their phones when it was new. That doesn't make it inherently wrong, just different. The teenagers of tomorrow may not blink an eye.
You wouldn't expect someone to sit down to dinner with sunglasses on their face. Maybe we should also have the same expectation for Glass. The real utility lies in its value while in transit, at an event, or on a trip, where having your hands free but maintaining the ability to have additional information available or to take a picture will improve the experience. There's nothing wrong with that.