Thursday, March 06, 2014

"Wearables" are grinding my gears.

Yesterday I wanted to make a post shitting all over this new segment. I think it's the faddiest thing ever. Yes - that's a word. Yet I didn't because I would just have to remove it since I was going to at least one conference in the next few months that is trying to convince me to drink the cool-aid.  And that seemed weak. Some day it will be a viable sector. I'm just not sure when. Could be 5 years. Could be 20. Maybe not at all. Possibly it will die. Someone will build on the technology and it will live in a different form.

My general feeling about Google glass is - people don't really like wearing glasses. People say a lot of things about people loving to wear sunglasses. Maybe so. But as a person who doesn't yet wear them - my whole life experience tells me people don't like wearing glasses that much. They go to great lengths to avoid them. They get contacts, or they get laser surgery. You can't fold up Google glass into a case. You have to wear them all the time. Which doesn't even matter for this post.

Mr S. was at the eye doctor a couple of weeks ago. He's always worn glasses until he got surgery but still needs reading glasses. I was asking the eye doctor what he thought the long term affects of Google Glass were. My feeling was there was eventually going to be some eye strain. He didn't think it would be a problem at all. Though he'd just booked his first client with prescription Glass but hadn't seen them yet. Not two days later I started reading stories about people getting headaches from Google Glass from an early adopter. Which reaffirmed my position.

The other obvious elephant in the room is privacy. This is the bigger problem in my opinion. I went to a Google Glass conference last summer (Read: I've slightly changed my opinion about Google Glass) and walked away with a general "if you say so" feeling. I have to quote the whole paragraph or it won't make sense.

"A gentleman from another country (I have to admit I don't remember which one) stood up and told the speaker than in many European countries this device would actually be illegal. I didn't know this, but apparently there is some law that you can't walk up to people face to face and take a picture of them without their consent. The speaker did not want to hear this, and I'm not sure he completely understood what the guy was trying to tell him. Besides, whatever that guy said didn't matter. Google knows it's going to have a lot of privacy lawsuits according to him. He was so unhearing of the concept I thought to myself - the first time some creepy guy takes a picture of a child at a pool, they are going to have problems. As a female, even I sense some resistance when I want to take pictures of someone else's child at a public event. I always, always, ask permission. And I'm a girl! I don't feel that same obligation with adults."

Now there is at least one bar in San Francisco that is banning Glass. And.... people are generally becoming less accepting of being photographed. Even in third world countries where even they have cell phones - people will shield their face from being photographed. Even they are aware of the camera like never before.

Okay - so I'm not a fan of Glass. What about fitbits and products like that. I generally have very little opinion other than it is pretty impressive how they are getting this technology in such a small footprint. However, even they are experiencing some issues. It doesn't really make sense why. People have been wearing watches forever. I can only say - my Aunt was allergic to non-allergic metals. She could never wear ear rings. There must be something in them that causes the same reaction.

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