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The 90 Percent Of Us Who Need Google Glass

In spite of the fact that it’s been hyped by the powerful marketing resources of Google, and by tech-enthusiast writers who have received product samples to test, Google Glass has yet to catch on. The electronic eyeglasses, which contain a small computer, a teeny camera, and a semi-transparent screen that fits over part of the wearer’s field of vision, are distracting to both the person wearing them and to the people around them. They manage to simultaneously compromise the quality of both ordinary sight and online activities. They’re ugly.

google glass 90 percentNever mind all that, say Google Glass afficionados. Google Glass is the mobile communications technology of the future, they say.

Who’s going to actually use Google Glass, and for what? “It’s for the 90% of workers who don’t work behind a computer and use their hands a lot,” says Yan-David Erlich, CEO of Wearable Intelligence, a company that has designed software for use on Google Glass.

The 90 percent of workers who don’t work behind a computer? Who are they?

The latest data release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the following as the largest occupations in the United States.

  • retail salespersons and cashiers
  • combined food preparation and serving workers
  • general office clerks
  • registered nurses
  • waiters and waitresses
  • customer service representatives

    Half of these top six occupations (retail, office clerks, and customer service) spend a lot of time working with access to computer screens. They don’t need Google Glass. That “90 percent of workers” Erlich refers to isn’t really 90 percent of the workforce.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes that most workers don’t make enough money to buy Google Glass as a professional accessory. Nor do they work for employers who have shown a willingness to invest in expensive technology to help workers do their jobs more easily. “Most of the largest occupations were relatively low paying,” the Bureau found in its latest data review.

    Google Glass costs $1,500 plus sales tax per pair.

    Then there’s the vulnerability of a lightweight computer worn on the face in a hands-on workplace. Cooks work in kitchens where steam, smoke and grease will obscure glass screens that hang over ovens and fryers. Highway crews and park rangers work outside, where it rains and snows. JP Mangalindan of the Wall Street Journal, who spends most of his time working in front of a computer, proposes that, with Google Glass, “a construction worker could work without ever reaching for a building map”. A construction worker also wears a hardhat because of the danger of falling objects that could smash a dainty pair of Google Glass into a million little high-tech pieces… and how hard is it really to reach for a building map?

    The more people struggle to find reasons to use Google Glass, the more plain it becomes that Google Glass is the Segway of the face.

  • 8 thoughts on “The 90 Percent Of Us Who Need Google Glass”

    1. Tom says:

      “Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.” ― Philip Slater

    2. Pingback: Glass Daily Headlines: April 9, 2014 - Glass Almanac
    3. Trackback: Glass Daily Headlines: April 9, 2014 - Glass Almanac
    4. Mark says:

      If a salesperson was “helping” me and then became distracted because of what he/she saw on the Google glasses, I would walk out of the store and complain about poor service. Do we want professional (truck, bus, train, etc.) drivers wearing these? The construction worker better be keeping his eyes on his job and not be wearing these glasses. It’s dangerous enough for him without this added distraction. Will your doctor or nurse be concentrating on you when you see them wearing these glasses? There seems to be a myth that people can “multi-task” effectively. Can anyone really do their job while also paying attention to the information coming at them through their glasses? I can see only rare instances where the glasses would be helpful.

      1. Bill says:

        Your point is a good one, Mark. I think most anyone would agree that we’re already bombarded by too much “information” and way too many flashy distractions (Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport…AKA “shopping mall with planes”…I’m talking about you). Glass is one more distraction we don’t need. But, of course, advertisers (and thus, Google) love its potential for putting ads in front of us literally every waking moment, so expect a huge big-money struggle to promote it and to resist legislation banning its use in certain areas. I’m as much of a techie as the next guy, but I’ll go to my grave without ever buying into the Glass nonsense. ‘Augmented reality’ is no such thing. It’s a distraction from reality.

        1. Bill says:

          To paraphrase an old joke: Nobody ever lay on his deathbed thinking “Damn, I wish I’d spent more time on the internet.”

    5. Mark says:

      Here’s a trend of the future to take into account. Many municipalities have banned hand-held phones and more are banning texting while driving. Google glasses will be added to the list sooner or later.

      1. J Clifford says:

        What do you mean? In the future, people will not speak in sentences, but will arrive at locations, speak links, offer a few grunting words and then leave?

        No? Maybe you mean that a very few surgeons are engaging in the medical equivalent of texting while driving, placing distractions in the field of view, cutting into human flesh while using Google Glass.

        Oh, but the New York Times says it’s a “growing number”. 1,2,3,4. That’s what growing numbers can look like. They don’t have to be big.

        Dr. Oliver Muensterer adds to the hype of the article with his comment, “I’m sure we’re going to use this in medicine… Not the current version, but a version in the future…”

        Now is a good time to mention that the New York Times is offering corporations the service of writing positive “journalistic” articles about their products in exchange for money. Do you think this could be one of them?

        You don’t know the future any more than anybody else does.

        Suckers beware.

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