Google has released a new video demonstrating a more realistic look at what Google Glass could end up offering as a user experience. Less focused on providing a crazy heads-up display (HUD) for your life, the new Google Glass video is more focused on recording your life, accessing and referring to information easily and sharing pics, videos and experiences while keeping your hands free.
Supposedly filmed entirely on a Google Glass unit itself, the video ends up coming off much more appealing to us than did its predecessor. The original ‘Project Glass’ demo showed a distracting and often view-obstructing product that, rather than augmenting one’s technology user experience, took on the role of almost entirely replacing one’s need to interact with the physical world on anything more than a passing basis.
In the original demo, the protagonist travelled from activity to activity with Project Glass alerting him of notifications at the expense of a proper view of his surroundings, showing him where to walk and encoraging him to make future notes for himself without the need to ever engage his own memory. Despite its happy, casual feel, the video itself came off to many as quite chilling.
The new video, on the contrary (featured at the top of the page), displays Google Glass as just a new kind of smart product that pretty much does all the stuff we’re used to, but with a different kind of interface. It’s a camera-based, voice-controlled gadget that allows one to easily take photos, record video and then share your experiences with friends without occupying your hands.
Of course, messaging, social media, search and internet connectivity are all shown off, too. We’re not sure how much of an overall “smartphone” experience a product like this could deliver, but a hands-free headset like this image of Google Glass could foreseeably provide a wide range of services, without actually needing to provide a more detailed or all-encompassing user interface.
We’re still not sold on the overall viability of Google Glass as a product. Yes, being able to check and respond to certain notifications immediately and without hands would be useful, but how many people do you really see utilizing the already-abundant and often viable voice-controlled interfaces on most of today’s modern smartphones? Given the choice between typing out a message and dictating it most people would not only pick typing, but wouldn’t even consider the voice option. On Google Glass voice appears to be the only option.
Easy access to notifications in the new Glass video doesn’t require shedding any of the inhibitions regarding the public use of voice commands, but if that’s all you’re after then there are definitely cheaper options, especially considering that CNET claims that Google Glass will be launching in 2013 for “under $1500”.
For folks unwilling to use those voice commands, $1500 would be a lot to pay for easier notifications, especially when products like the Pebble watch exist. Moreover, selling a head-mounted product like Google Glass as anything other than a fashion faux pas is going to be difficult.
At the risk of sounding negative, we’re having trouble seeing Google Glass take off as anything other than a very niche device with rather esoteric uses. We love the idea behind it and we’re always excited when a company puts its weight behind something new and, who knows, perhaps it’ll be a resounding success and we’ll look rather silly.
At the very least we hope to start seeing a lot more awesome YouTube POV videos of extreme athletes doing crazy things, but as a wide-spread smart-device we’re not entirely sure that Google Glass will be able to stay popular more than a year or so after its launch.
Then again, that’s what people said about the iPad.