People pay thousands of dollars to have lasers shot at their eyes so they don't have to wear glasses. People put little pieces of plastic right on their eyes so they don't have to wear glasses. People hate glasses.

You can feel them on your face. You can see them on your face. They restrict your peripheral vision. You have to keep track of them. If you take them off you have to carry them with you. Your one pair has to compliment all your clothes. Wearing glasses makes it harder to wear sunglasses and be cool. Lots of people don't like how they look in glasses. Though imo some are in actuality very fetching. Disclaimer I don't wear glasses.

There are problems with the implementation of Google glass particularly. It's a pretty shitty product. Like hey check out this futuristic product you operate with your eyes except really you have to talk to it and stroke it with your finger. It doesn't fold up so you can't put it away. The obvious best use is to overlay graphical info over what you're looking at except the screen is stuck up in the corner so you have to look away from what's in front of you. The name is painfully try-hard-y.

(Somewhere in California a man makes a cleaving motion with his hand symbolizing the cool-ass bifurcation of the word glasses, leaving behind on one side the orphaned, useless es and on the other the singular elemental glass, born anew to navigate the metaverse and make people nervous you're filming them. I call them Google Glasses.)

But let's not focus too much on how Google fucked their glasses up particularly, more compelling is what a bad idea glasses computers ("heads up displays", my friend) are in general. Of of their two best uses one is wildly dangerous and the other makes one's fellow human beings paranoid and angry. Though probably the most obvious use is just to dick around on the internet while you walk. Which is also dangerous and stupid and lame and not even useful. I recommend inhabiting your body and being aware of your environment while you walk, which is genuinely good and borderline joyful and nothing to be so afraid of. Don't worry you will be reunited with your devices very soon and it'll be that much sweeter for their absence.

As mentioned augmented reality, overlaying graphical info onto one's field of vision, seems like it could be pretty dang sweet. If you want to see a depiction of this technology as envisioned by a sociopath you should watch this video . It's not hard to imagine how helpful it would be with driving directions and turning your life into a popup video. I seriously doubt anyone would let you gamble at pool while wearing them and definitely no girl you just met will ever come to your spacious, tasteful apartment.

So why did Google totally ignore augmented reality, instead choosing to place the display in the upper right hand corner of the glasses, requiring you to look up and to the right to use them? Pretty sure it's because augmented reality in your glasses is insanely dangerous. Imagine if those driving directions behaved at all like the gps on my iphone, with tons of laggy buggy bs, and steered you right into a farmers market, killing and maiming scores of innocents who were under the impression they could find meaning and fulfillment as an empowered participant in the farm to table lifestyle. Or maybe you're walking down the sidewalk and an open manhole cover is obscured by an ad for the store you're passing and you fall in and now you live in the sewer and are ruled by the rat king. This is not great technology for the health and longevity of your own or others bodies. And the thing is it doesn't even have to be a buggy to be problematic. It could function flawlessly and still be very dangerous because you only have so much attention and having to decipher all sorts extra info while still navigating the phenomenal world is just a lot to ask and an obvious recipe for disaster.

Augmented reality on a phone could maybe work. You hold your phone in front of the statue of liberty and it displays some cool cutaway blueprints of the interior structure. Even though phones are also distracting and dangerous they have one key safety feature that glasses don't, their default state is off. You have to make an effort to hold a phone up to your face. As soon as your attention is diverted by a loud noise and/or an evocative flavor the phone automatically drops away and is no longer distracting you. This has a corollary with Google glasses other big deficiency in that when you're using your phone people know you're using your phone.

We have all I'm sure been dreaming since childhood of how sick it would be if we could take pictures just by blinking our eyes and also have earrings that summoned a holographic rock band by touching them and saying a catch phrase. Or what if everything we saw, our whole life, was automatically recorded (this would be wild embarrassing just fyi). These are undoubtably super fn rad ideas and the fact that they're on the verge of being real is very exciting. Except of course for the subjects of our personal documentaries, the people being recorded, are maybe not so amped about it. We have to share the world with others and it turns out all of them prefer not to be recorded without their consent. That consent often, with friends especially, is more opt out than opt in. Someone holds their phone up for a photo and whoever doesn't want to be in it has a split second to take evasive action. The protocol with strangers is trickier, like maybe it's okay to take a picture that they're in, but walking right up to someone and taking a picture of them is could be grounds for a confrontation.

So what happens when you're wearing a device that might be recording at all times? Unsurprisingly people do not like it. (lol at her being all they were accusing me of recording them when I wasn't, cut to footage of people accusing her of recording them.)

Many argue that this is just a standard conservative fearful response to new technology and that in time everyone will be used to being recorded at all times. But the thing is photography is really not at all a new technology. It's been around for everyone's entire lives and we still don't like being recorded without our consent. It's considered a violation of our right to just be ourselves drunk in a bar on a sunday morning without someone freezing that in time and maybe posting it to facebook where our bosses and fellow congregants can see. And it's even more fundamental than worrying about footage getting out. There's a feeling that unwanted recording violates out basic sovereignty as human beings. If you don't understand that chances are you're probably not trying too hard to understand where the humans who are not yourself are coming from.

Which brings us to Google. They have a strong futurist bent. They're fascinated with sci-fi visioning of our technological future. Which has an aspect of irony since their main thing wasn't the first of its kind and the method they used to make money off it was invented by someone else. Their other huge success is an inferior facsimile of a revolutionary product. They are undoubtedly a brilliant company at what they do best, which is getting a bunch of data and making incremental changes based on being better at computer science than everyone else.

The thing about that approach is it doesn't work for coming up with new ideas. That takes a more intuitive and empathetic way of looking at things. It's hard for a company to be good at more than one thing. It's usually better to just go with your strength. That requires self-knowledge. It takes admitting that your not good at most things. Google's leadership is outrageously successful. I'm sure people tell them they're visionaries every day, which incidentally is maybe not even a real thing in and of itself. It's hard to resist that empty praise and focus on your core skill.

If you look at what what Google says about their glasses you can see that they're not even that good at performing the typical thought leader routine, let alone leading actual thoughts. They don't seem sure what Google glasses are for or about. They chum the water with a bunch of boiler plate tech self-actualization marketing talk about being creative and exploring or whatever and being bold and sharing. And, if you dare to direct your gaze toward their deepest degraded confusion, you'll see their honest too goodness ceo of Google make the mortifying argument for their glasses based on the assertion that phones are emasculating. He manages to be simultaneously simple-minded and baffling. Like the Google dude is laying some entry level gender police trip on you and the thing he's so worried about sapping your manhood is holding a phone in your hand? I feel bad for this guy. He really doesn't seem cut out for the role. He's just flailing. Like maybe this approach works for selling pickup trucks or for jr high bullying. But cyborg glasses? Dispositionally he seems much more the bullied than the bully, internalizing the abuse of his tormentors. Not sure he knows who he is. Probably not the person to lead us toward the light.

You can see in Google Glasses a certainty that something must be next. There's going to be a new disruptive technology and they're gonna find it and put ads on it. Setting aside how funny and not revolutionary it is that their big idea is to put a computer in an existing object, I don't think this is the right way to look at it. The vast majority of people don't care if something is new and super technological, they care whether it helps them or not. It's easier for google as a company to understand technology than it is for them to understand people. Which is why they aren't ever on the cutting edge of popular technology.

On the other side apple is the best at coming up with the devices and the intuitive interfaces everyone loves. But then when you look at the super computers doing things behind the scenes stuff that Google is good at apple sucks very bad. I wanted to mention apple not just because they're the obvious counterpoint to Google but so I could complain about how when I updated my ipad it caused my iphone to email texts to people when I texted them? Why? Like that's very hard to even explain it makes so little sense.

Google glass is booty (and so is icloud). Peace be with you.


This post originally appeared on Thought Follower, with the express permission of Joe Schoech. You can follow Joe on Twitter, if you want.

Photo: Getty