Google Glass launched in the UK yesterday, after being available in the US for more than a year. It’s received mixed reviews from across the pond, but here are 10 reasons why us Brits won’t bother.
1. It’s banned for driving
One of the purported benefits of Google Glass is the satnav built in to the device, making it easier to navigate the UK’s winding roads – except using it is banned while driving, presumably because it’s assumed drivers will be distracted by ads for a shop they might be driving past, mount the pavement and mow down a load of school kids.
2. Security issues
Some people have argued it’s possible to hack the device and see someone’s life in the first-person. And you thought it was scary that hackers can look through your webcam.
3. It’s impractical
It doesn’t fold neatly into a glasses case like you’d expect. Even if you love your precious new purchase, there are still times when you don’t want to wear it, for example, if you’re playing squash or asleep. That means you have to put it into a bulky protective case to avoid the almost inevitable possibility of sitting on it when it’s not on your face. Plus, there doesn’t seem to be any way of buying a small one for a peahead like me, meaning it will irritatingly slide down your nose every 30 seconds.
4. People won’t want to talk to you
And not just because they’re concerned about their privacy (see 8). If you have one of those friends who spends the whole time glued to their phone in the pub, you can imagine how distracting it could be not really knowing if they’re listening to you or reading their emails.
5. It’s expensive
It costs £1,000 to buy in the UK. For that you could get a second hand car, flights to Australia or 5,000 Freddos. Plus, you’d want it insured, which would add another few hundred pounds to the bill. But to be fair, that would pay for itself taking into account all the times Google Glass would be ripped from your face and stamped on by haters.
6. People hate glasses
People go to a lot of effort to not wear glasses. Laser eye surgery costs thousands and, over their lifetimes, people spend hundreds of pounds on contact lenses, which they push on to the surface of their eyeball every morning because they don’t like specs. Even I (bearing in mind I love the glasses I wear for work) wouldn’t fancy having them on all the time.
7. It doesn’t even look cool
No matter how much people want to think it makes them look super awesome, it doesn’t look cool. To some extent, Google can be spared from blame, as the UK happens to be a particularly fashionable country, with many of the world’s top designers, and sparking trends which, five years later, eventually arrive in California. But even if you like the circa 2003 design of most of the frames, your appearance has to contend with what looks like half an iPhone stuck to your face, Phantom of the Opera style.
8. It’s creepy
It’s bad enough suspecting some creepy guy is leering at you on the train, but what if he was taking video to share with other weirdos? It’s almost impossible to see at a glance, particularly at a distance, if someone is filming you. Newsflash: people don’t want to be filmed or photographed without their permission.
9. You have to talk to it
Although you’d hope to be able to control it with your eyes, you still have to touch and talk to the device to tell it what to do. If you’re one of the unfortunate people with a regional accent that involves missing words (“off t’pub”) or colloquial expressions that are part of your daily vocabulary (“ta”), like me, you’re basically screwed. And, of course, there’s the perennial problem of looking like one of those people, wandering round the supermarket talking to yourself.
10. You won’t be allowed in places
It’s been banned in a lot of places in the US, such as cafés and theatres, because it puts the other customers off eating their dinner or looks like you might be filming where you shouldn’t. Here’s the “discrimination” lampooned on the Daily Show:
What do you think of Google Glass? Tweet me your thoughts @robynvinter