November 17, 2013

HAMED: An Argument for Google Glass From a Google Glass Hater

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By ALI HAMED

In my opinion, Google Glass doesn’t work that well. I wouldn’t wear it because I feel like it looks goofy, and because it’s not that useful. The pain I feel by taking my phone out of my pocket to access apps rather than by using voice command isn’t compelling enough yet to make a purchase. Plus, I really like calling people “Glassholes.”

But Google Glass represents a platform, and no platform has been defined by the hardware itself, but rather the software used to populate its system.

The early Apple computer was a machine made by nerds, for nerds. It was a huge technical accomplishment, but not useful to the masses until many versions later, and not until desktop applications gave it viability. Desktop applications were what changed the game for the personal computer.

Likewise, the smartphone has become such a popular tool because of the applications people have built for it, not because of the processing power it has (yes, the processing power is what has enabled the apps, but most people don’t think that way).

The hardware of any technical innovation and hardware platform simply provides the infrastructure for the apps.

The hardware makes apps possible, while apps make hardware useful.

Google Glass is in its first iteration. It will get better, and the applications available on Glass will become more useful.

Right now, I can envision Glass being used for specialty cases. Doctors will use it while performing surgery so they don’t have to look away from a patient. Sports coaches may use it to pull up data more quickly, or film a batter’s swing. Music teachers will use it to help train their students or read music.

Glass will soon become more fashionable, better integrated with eyeglasses, and less obnoxious looking. It probably won’t be in this version, it may not even be worn on the head, but considering Google is one of the only companies trying to do something crazy and new, they sure are getting a lot of unwarranted hate for it.

3D printing, likewise, is so nascent, but it is a platform — which is why its so powerful. The innovation of 3D printing will be useful only if companies like Matter.io, Shapeways and others provide tools that make it accessible to the masses, and both useful and efficient to enterprise.

These printers will get better, faster and more easily accessible. It will one day sound ridiculous to have assembly lines, or to purchase “things” as they are, without customizing them to a particular liking first.

Give these platforms time and stop hating so much. Every innovation went through its experiments and trials, and it took time for them to become popular and useful. The personal computer was made useful over the span of decades. We’re dismissing Glass and 3D printing far too early.

Just my two cents.

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