There are a bunch of rumors this week that Google is working on the next version of Glass, the head-worn goggles that cost $1,500 and make you feel like you want to puke. The original version proved that some innovations never need to pass into a 2.0 phase.
The information is shaky at best, and I always tend to doubt FCC filings. For one thing, the rumors are based on speculation about a couple of letters — the GG1 nomenclature in the filing and the letters EE, which some have speculated could refer to an Enterprise Edition.
Please, please, don’t make Google Glass 2.0. I know it is tempting to try to improve on the original. Maybe an enterprise version could be used for field work so you can see how to place a widget on a flywheel (even though Epson already has something that works for this just fine) or maybe warn you when you are running late for a meeting across town.
I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it. I want technology to evolve around us, not on us. I don’t mind being warned about a meeting by my car or when I walk down the hall. My vision of ubiquitous computing is not to have to wear any device at all, including a watch. I’m fine with holographic displays that pop up at the bus station and show me how to get from one place to another. I don’t want that image blasting into my pupils.
We tend to think technology needs to become more personal. I want technology to fade into the background, to become more impersonal. When I pull up in my driveway, I don’t want to be wearing a display and then flick with my finger to open the garage door. I don’t even want to use an app. I just want the garage door opener to know it’s me. I want it to learn from my behavior and sense my car. I don't want to know there is any tech.
The perfect example of intrusive technology meant to be “innovative” is the constant chirping and buzzing from the Apple Watch. I wore one for several weeks. Never again. I hated it. I don’t want to wear my technology. I want the technology to operate in the background and make my life easier. I want my phone to meld with the world so I don't have to carry one around at all, let alone wear it on my wrist or on my head.
I wore Glass 1.0 for a while back in the early days. I used it again when I drove a car once. I even begged Google on my personal blog to let me try it once (albeit it was all very cheeky). I liked it at first. I’m guilty of becoming enamored by tech innovations and acquiring the view, mostly as a reaction to seeing something elusive and cool, that a new gadget must be worth having because it is new and different. Sometimes, new and different means complicated and impractical. Or even really dumb.
There’s a famous William Gibson quote you probably already know: “The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed.” With some innovations, it’s more like this: The future is already here — but people keep trying to bring back stuff that didn’t work. That’s my view of Glass 2.0. Maybe it will be astoundingly useful. My guess is that, if there even is a new version, it will still be a head-mounted display that pops up in my eyes and annoys me. That means I’ll still hate it.
What about you? Post in comments if you are looking forward to Glass 2.0.
This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?