By Dawn Cranfield
Google Glass Turns Users into Walking Computers
Google’s newest personal accessory, an eyeglass shaped frame entitled “Glass” that has potential users scrambling to be the first to get a chance to try them. The retailer ran a contest in February for users to win the chance to purchase a stripped down original version of the product to help with product testing and offer feedback.
Winners of the Glass Explorer program will have the opportunity to pay $1,500 for the honor of being called “Glassholes” and will be the first to use Google’s extraordinary new device before anybody else in the world.
One innovative winner opted to take his winning Glass to eBay and auction them off in an effort to make some extra cash in hopes of earning enough to pay down some student loans. Known only as “Ed from Philadelphia”, the 26-year-old saw bids reach $95,300.
Ed’s enthusiasm was short-lived, however, when he learned Google’s Terms of Service state, “If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google’s authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the Device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the Device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty.” (forbes.com)
Ed voluntarily canceled the auction today after learning from other Explorers who had already received their Glass earlier this week. “I didn’t want to jeopardize my getting a pair of Glass,” says Ed. “So, I voluntarily removed the auction and I’m still excited to get the Glass even if I cannot sell it.” (forbes.com)
While Ed is still happy about being one of the first to be able to try Google’s new Glass, he is not as thrilled about having paid $1,500 for a product over which he appears to have little ownership.
Legal expert, Eric Goldman, says of the incident, “Ordinarily, manufacturers can’t restrict the resale of the goods they sell. But when the goods contain software, they may be able to contractually prohibit resale. And when the goods contain ‘kill switches,’ it’s possible that the manufacturers can legally ‘brick’ the items on resale remotely.” (forbes.com)
One user who has received his Glass explains that the new device “isn’t a replacement for your cell phone, since you have to pair the device with the one you have for cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.” (techcrunch.com)
He describes the need to look up to view information and controlling the device with voice commands, possibly eliciting strange looks from passersby. One can only imagine. Not to mention the way the Glass looks, they do not exactly scream “fashion statement”.
However, he touts the benefits of using the Glass to check the time, determine missed calls or incoming emails. Additionally, Explorers are merely using a stripped down version of Glass, applications will be developed and layers will be added on as they go into development.
Google’s Glass is going to open a new window on the future, new possibilities for those who can afford it or who want it, and add another layer of technology to advance education, healthcare and science.
Still, for everyday use, it is difficult to imagine wearing something that would force you to continually look to the right or left, straining your eyes or become distracted from the rest of the world. The eye strain alone and potential for increased headaches may be a deterrent for some.