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Google Glasses: pretty cool or pretty bloody dangerous?


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Have you seen those Google glasses? I have and I love them but then I also don’t love them. There’s an advert for them knocking about (below). It’s worth a watch, mainly because I'm going to spend the next paragraph or so picking it apart so it’d be quite nice for you to see what I'm going on about. It’d be quite nice for both of us. Together. You and I.

The advert isn’t the best. It’s all from the glasses wearer's POV (something the porn industry will no doubt get involved with very soon). We’ll start from the start. From what I can tell, the man in the advert is wearing the glasses as he wakes up. Not really sure what’s going on there but we’ll let that go for now.

There are a couple of things regarding the general appearance of Google Glasses which I’m not overly fond of. The little screen thing (not sure if that’s the technical term) is in front of the right eye. Well, that’s a bit of an issue already. I’ve got a dodgy right eye which can’t see much of anything at all. Can the screen be changed to the left eye, Google? Also, if you can do that, does that mean that my right eye is now my only means of vision? Because that wouldn’t work very well at all. Does this mean I can’t be involved in the glasses?

You know what; I didn’t want to be anyway, how about that? I have to wear regular glasses so I’m assuming I’d have to chuck the Google ones on over them? I feel like enough of a knob doing that with the 3D ones in a dark cinema where no one can see me besides my girlfriend and the man who sometimes follows me into cinemas and sits in front of me watching me instead of the film. Are you expecting me to stroll down the street in broad daylight with two bloody pairs of glasses on? I’ll be a laughing stock. For shame, Google. For shame.

Right, what happens next in the advert? He pisses about with a dog for a bit. Not sure if you need the glasses for that bit but all the same, it looked alright. He tries to get the subway somewhere (somewhere which doesn’t look very far away if I’m honest) but luckily, his glasses conveniently warn him that it’s closed when he’s five feet from the entrance. A warning some time before he walked all the way to the station would have maybe worked out for everyone a little better, but there we go.

Some other stuff happens then he heads over to a bookshop. Not sure why there would be any need to go to a bookshop in the first place if you have “everything” in your glasses (including Google Books I imagine?). Are you telling me your glasses can tell you that the subway is delayed the second it detects you walking towards it but doesn’t have any tips on the ukulele? Also, within six seconds of entering said bookshop, he asks his spectacles where the music section is. It is, from what we can see, quite a small bookshop so he probably should have just looked around. I know what you’re thinking; that’s the bloody hide-and-seek industry down the toilet isn’t it? Honestly, just look for the bloody music section. It’s not that hard. Or is this Google’s way of telling us that the glasses obstruct your brain as well as your vision?

Anyway, he then meets his mate, they have a coffee, and then he instructs his specs to tell all his mates that he is having a coffee at that specific location because it’s important that everyone knows when you’re having a coffee. He then notices some graffiti and advises his glasses to take a picture of it, which was pretty cool if I’m honest. Although after that he prompts aforementioned eyewear to share it with his Google Circles, which was, in my opinion, the least realistic thing of the whole advert. Not one person in the history of sharing has made the decision that Google Circles is the first place they should post their new interesting picture. If it’s a real showstopper, Instagram is probably the place for it. Although the Instagrammers of this world can be a tricky bunch to please so there’s every chance that it won’t get much love. If you find yourself in that position then you most likely post it on Twitter. If no one has replied to/retweeted you within a couple minutes you chuck it on Facebook. If it’s not really getting any likes/comments on there then you have to make the tricky choice between logging into your untouched-for-four-years Myspace/Bebo and putting it on there. Once you’ve realised that you don’t remember the login details of either of those, only then might you start to slightly consider that Google Circles might potentially be the place for it. It’ll soon occur to you that nobody you know uses Google Circles and it was all a colossal waste of time but still, at least all the strangers walking around you just heard you tell your glasses that you’re a user. They’ll be impressed. And if there’s one thing you want to make sure you do in this life, its impress strangers.

That was about it for the advert. It ended with him playing a lovely song to a lady-friend on the ukulele (which he seemingly learned to play in between a full day of taking pictures/drinking coffee?!) while showing her a lovely view of New York City. It was a nice moment. Kind of weird how he learnt the ukulele that day and was already playing it without looking, but there we go.

But what will it really be like, day-to-day? As it’s not available in England, I’ll just have a few guesses; I reckon advertisements will definitely be a big thing. Advertisers will be bloody clamouring something raw for a chance to have their product literally flashed in front of potential consumers eyes. If they pay millions to chuck their nonsense on TVs and computers which we have the option to turn our heads away from and ignore, how keen would they be to get on board with something in which the consumer can’t escape from? What’s the deal with the pop ups? Will they not be distracting? I can see accidents, particularly hit and runs (if the drivers and street-crossers are both wearing the glasses) multiplying drastically. How the bloody hell are you supposed to cross a road with a load of nonsense about there being delays on the tube from popping up in your eye line? Yes, I gathered that there would be a delay on the tube, glasses. That’s how it works. It’s a very busy system which millions of people use every day. Of course there’s going to be delays. Knob. 

Or maybe it’ll be even more annoying? Adverts are, more often than not, pretty bloody irksome. Google and their affiliates bloody love an advert, you know that. How many times today have you tried to watch the Thrift Shop video but have had to wait two and a half minutes for the advert about Jake Bugg to pass through? That’s just the Google/YouTube way. Think about how they’ll be with glasses. It’ll be horrendous. You hardly need the GoCompare bloke jumping about in your eyes when you’re visiting your Great Aunt Viv with the dicky kidney in hospital.

There’s also the thing with the ‘ol price. You need a fair bit of coin to sort it, as they say in the computer glasses business. $1500 to be precise. $1500 is a lot of money. You could get all sorts with it. It could almost pay for a whole years insurance for a 2003 Volvo S40, or half a year of uni a couple of years ago, or 52 nights in the simply majestic Premier Inn Luton for a lovely extended city break, or 754 of Waitrose finest papayas, or two used 2002 Vauxhall Astra vans on eBay, or 19 rides in a Virgin Hot Air Balloon over  the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, or 43 rounds of golf at the glorious Brocket Hall Golf Club in Welwyn Garden City, or 107 BRAND NEW copies of the Pirates of the Caribbean box set via Amazon (, or 29 Ladies cut-and-blow-drys from a Senior Stylist at Toni & Guy Slough, or 1/16th of a giraffe (including vaccinations and permits) from a CERTIFIED giraffe dealer. It could even pay for four and a bit ‘Flying Discs by Geoffrey Parker’ (posh Frisbees). 

Then they’ll be the inevitable mix ups when drivers get banned from wearing them. If it’s illegal to be on the phone or watch Madagascar on your laptop while driving then wearing a fancy pair of glasses which let you watch a video of goats screaming or helpfully inform you when your mate is having a coffee will certainly be banned. 

But what happens then? A dirty, clandestine black market for glasses which look like the Google Glasses will crop up so when police pull someone over who’s wearing them, they can be like; "Erm, these are just my regular glasses" and then it’ll be red faces all round. Everyone will be wearing them all the time. There’s no other way this can go. Without the security of knowing everyone around is wearing glasses which look like those ones which cost 1500 quid, you’ll be mugged before those crafty bifocals get a chance to tell you that the area you’ve just strolled into is one with a fairly high crime rates.

Also, why is it legal to smoke 11 fags at once while driving but illegal to be on the phone? Oh well that’s not too important. What about exams? You could say your Google Glasses are really just your regular ones and then BOOM, you’ve just rinsed the 11 plus in six minutes. Will those people who pace around when you’re doing an exam actually be qualified enough to know the difference between a Specsavers special and the Google spectacular? How much extra training will it take to get them up to scratch? How much will that cost us as taxpayers? Will we be able to train these current staff or will we have to get completely new ones in? Or will this be one of those ‘install special glasses detectors in every school and university up and down the country’ jobbies? Because we ALL know how that worked out last time.

Experts (my friend Terry and I) have noted that Google is making everybody stupider because it eliminates the need for memory. The “Google Effect” is a cognitive bias – You are more likely to forget information that can easily be found using a search engine. So our minds don’t bother remembering stuff because they know Google will just hoof an answer their way. Imagine how much our minds won’t bother keeping a hold of if they realise that all the information in the world (besides how to play a ukulele) can be accessed in two seconds simply by shouting at your glasses.

There’s a video of a Google presentation knocking about which involves a live feed of people wearing the glasses while skydiving and bmx’ing and other things of that nature (extremely dangerous acts that deserve your full attention. Acts which require you to keep your eyes on the task ahead and not on a little picture of graffiti that some bloke you knew eleven years ago has just posted to his Google Circles). The actual feed from the glasses which we witnessed in the Google presentation is nothing like what is portrayed in the advert with the ukulele bloke. It is poor. Like, Nokia 7650 sort of poor.

Oh well, by the time most of us can afford to even look at a pair they probably would have sorted that out. Obviously the glasses are bloody cool and probably a more worthwhile purchase that 29 haircuts and I’m probably just jealous that you can’t own a pair if you don’t live in the United States (of America). To be fair we’ll all forget about it as soon as Apple comes out with the iGlasses or iBifocals anyway.

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