Thursday 2 May 2013

Breaking: Apple responds to Google Glass with iBall

Google Glass naysayers have my sympathy. More than that, I wholeheartedly support their point of view, even though I disagree. See, when people say "that's never going to happen", they're really saying "I hope that never happens" and I, for one, sincerely hope that Google Glass never happens.

Except it's already happened.

Google Glass is not a product. Those product reviews complaining that it slips down the nose or tilts to the right or is uncomfortable, don't get the point. The privacy advocates complaining of intrusion don't understand. Google Glass is the realisation of a concept, not a piece of hardware. Of course the product design aspects aren't quite right but it doesn't take a clairvoyant to see where it's headed.

The concept I'm talking about is none other than the one that has been doing the rounds since the whole Web 2.0 malarkey got going. It's the notion of enhancing reality with a virtual overlay in order to enrich life. And is that any different to what you've been doing since the birth of the Apple App Store? Location-based services, song tagging, instant photo sharing... they're all just part of the same idea that leads inevitably to ever more biologically-proximate devices.

We're all familiar with the rush to decide an argument by checking the facts on our portable devices. How difficult it is to resist that urge to see what's new on social media! Don't we have an incessant and insatiable appetite for combining what is happening here and now with what might be elsewhere at another time?

While today it's difficult to get used to a lopsided, ugly device that slides awkwardly down your nose and whose operation depends on spoken commands, we're not so far away from effectively invisible implants that function seamlessly with our conscious minds.

So is it surprising that many people fear what Google Glass represents? And perhaps that fear will be sufficient to slow down the trajectory upon which humanity finds itself. Slow down, not halt. The Google Glass product might fail but you read it hear first, beware the Apple iBall!