Google Glass, Google's augmented reality head gear, is probably too expensive -- and too geeky -- to take off with consumers today, Dave Evans, chief futurist at Cisco Systems, told me during a recent conversation.
Due to the expense of the glasses -- a limited release version will reportedly sell for $1,500 -- they're more likely to take hold for niche industrial uses before making headway with consumers, he contends. But the biggest obstacle, other than the price tag, may be the look of the things -- which may explain why Google reached out to Diane Von Furstenberg during last fall's Fashion Week.
"There may be a geek stigma with the glasses. Will they be considered cool or geeky?" Evans asks. While Von Furstenberg attempted to integrate Google Glass into high-fashion, flashing the chip-on-temple novelty look at a Fashion Week event last September, it's hard to imagine women wearing these things like a fashion item. Yes, you could use the glasses in Neiman Marcus to view informational overlays when shopping for apparel, but the sales clerk might take one look at your Borg-chic outfit and send you packing to Hot Topic.
It's not that Evans isn't a fan of augumented reality glasses. Rather, he calls the Google Glass project today "rational experimentation" that proves out the technology, and says the initial product is likely to remain a novelty with consumers. Eventually, however, prices will come down. And the next generation of the technology could be augmented reality contact lenses that eliminate the four-eyes look. "If you can put contact lenses in the eye that are powered by the eye itself, or perhaps by light, then it's not as obvious, not so much of an elephant in the room. That's when it might take off," he says.