Commentary

Glass Half Full: 10% Of Americans Say They Would Tolerate Google's Geeky Gadget

Google-Glasses-AAA new study from BiTE interactive of 1000 U.S. adults via an online survey found that 10% would wear Google Glass. There are a couple of ways to come at that statistic, of course. For the perennially gadget phobic, it reinforces their always-on suspicion that all technology is invading and diminishing social interaction, and Google has come up with a gadget that goes too far in that direction.

The geek factor seems to weigh heavily on most people. About 45% said they wouldn’t wear the device because it looks weird or might be intrusive. Of course, that is a complaint that should go away in the next couple of generations of hardware, once it becomes pretty much embedded in an eyeglass.

According to Joseph Farrell, EVP of operations at BiTE, as quoted at Mashable, the real fear in using Google Glass is the social signal it sends to others. "At best, they see a Glass user as someone who prioritizes information access over a personal connection with others," he says.

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Well, maybe. That one left the barn quite a while ago, I think. My wife and I were out at our anniversary dinner the other night doing what married couples tend to do -- enjoying watching the discomfort of younger couples on first dates at other tables. Nearest to us was a couple in which the man was being solicitous and gallant while the woman was spending most of her time tapping out text messages and keeping her phone on the table to monitor incoming texts. It was one of those moments where both of us had to restrain ourselves from going up to the poor guy and advising him to run as fast as he could the other way. One rarely sees such inexcusable contempt demonstrated for another human being.

Personally, I don’t believe for a second that technologies create this kind of rude behavior. That requires squishy values and upbringing. But the technology seems to give the rudeness a platform, and in some cases an excuse. It used to be that most of us were polite enough to endure boring situations and boring people.

The other way to look at it is that Google could very well have an enormous gadget hit on its hands if 10% of the population is seriously interested in buying this thing. That would make Google Glass more successful than most smartphones.

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