In the very least, Google Glass is an exciting new technology that offers a handful of entertaining and helpful features. The core capabilities — mainly Googling, Multimedia, Navigation, Sharing, and Personalized Recommendations — are a great starting point for what might be the next big thing. The Google Glass UI is beautifully simple, well thought out, and a joy to use. But a few cool features and a pretty face don’t get you “the next big thing” status.
As with Android smartphones and tablets, the success of Glass will largely depend on developers. What will be the killer apps? What will be the killer games? What new ideas and integrations will be unlocked thanks to the unique capabilities and presence of Google Glass? If developers embrace the platform and unlock its hidden potential, there could be a goldmine of opportunities previously unrealized. But that’s not a definite… it’s an if.
Furthermore, Glass isn’t without its challenges and detractors. There are privacy concerns with people having such easy access to sneekily taking pictures and videos in both private and public places. There are potential safety concerns: I don’t think anyone would argue it’s a good idea to watch YouTube videos while driving. If private and public institutions place restrictions or bans on Google Glass, the technology could be suffocated before it even has a chance.
Then there’s perhaps the biggest and most unpredictable factor of all: the Segway factor.
In what direction will the public opinion sway? Cool must-have gadget that unlocks the power of technology? Or creepy geek mask for wannna-be time travelers who grew up watching Back to the Future?
There are too many unknowns to predict where Google Glass will wind up when it becomes available for sale next year. In its current form and at its current price, Google Glass won’t find too many buyers. But if Google can smooth over the aesthetics, define a “killer app” category, avoid strangling regulations, and clock in at sub-$500 without ruining the “cool factor”… the sky is the limit.
This is part of our Google Glass Review. For more information, check out the full review, or jump directly to one of the following sections: Introduction, Hardware, Software, Navigation, Calls & Messaging, Camera, Day in the life (1, 2, 3), FAQ, Conclusion.