The frosted-glass doors on the 11th floor of Google’s NYC headquarters part and a woman steps forward to greet me. This is an otherwise normal specimen of humanity. Normal height, slender build; her eyes are bright, inquisitive. She leans in to shake my hand and at that moment I become acutely aware of the device she’s wearing in the place you would expect eyeglasses: a thin strip of aluminum and plastic with a strange, prismatic lens just below her brow. Google Glass.
What was a total oddity a year ago, and little more than an experiment just 18 months ago is now starting to look like a real product. One that could be in the hands (or on the heads, rather) of consumers by the end of this year. A completely new kind of computing device; wearable, designed to reduce distraction, created to allow you to capture and communicate in a way that is supposed to feel completely natural to the wearer. It’s the anti-smartphone, explicitly fashioned to blow apart our notions of how we interact with technology.
But as I release from that handshake and study the bizarre device resting on my greeter’s brow, my mind begins to fixate on a single question: who would want to wear this thing in public?