My cousin and I spend the day practicing our scheme. On his computer, he can see my cards. On my walnut-sized screen, I can see a teensy version of him holding up handwritten signs, like FOLD. Or RAISE TEN DOLLARS. Or CALL. I keep my cousin on mute for two reasons: First, I don't want my fellow cardplayers to hear him. And second, he's kind of a cocky bastard.
At 8:00 P.M. on a Thursday, my three unsuspecting friends come to my apartment. They know I'm testing Glass, but I tell them it's only for e-mail. "Are you going to look up whether a straight beats a flush?" my friend Carl jokes. "Ha, ha," I chuckle. "No, nothing like that." (Though it's true I barely know the rules.)
But he also uses it, Cyrano-style, to help a friend score with the ladies:
I'm married with three kids, and my wife has made it clear that Glass is not an aphrodisiac for her. So I figured I'd lend my device to a single twenty-six-year-old editor at Esquire. The plan: He'll wear it to a downtown New York bar, and I'll watch the live-stream video from home and tell him what to do. I'll be his Cyrano. I'll get a vicarious night on the town, all while eating my butternut-squash soup in the comfort of my home. I can't wait.
I could imagine Glass Concierge becoming a future job title, basically a personal assistant who looks in on your Google Glass video feed to make helpful suggestions and advice, basically a rally co-driver for your life. (As long as your co-driver isn't Vivek Ponnusamy.)
Doug knows a movie producer who recently got Glass and said, 'This is as close as I'll ever get to being a rock star.' When the velvet-rope hostess at the of-the-moment Wythe Hotel bar in Williamsburg stops to take a photo of me with her iPhone, I know exactly what the producer meant. This is the most I will ever be loved by strangers.
My own audio: Glass has a bone transducer that amplifies audio only you can hear. In practice, it's imperfect. But the potential is clear.
Social interactions: I forced myself to wear Glass even if I felt uneasy about it, which was in a lot of places. I was downright nervous to have them on in airport security and the casino floor. But even when ordering a coffee at Starbucks, I felt like I was doing something wrong.
We really are developing something similar in its basic functionality to what was described in the Sina Tech report and other sources in the Chinese press; the reports were correct in their essentials though they got some of the details wrong (and those inaccuracies may have have its origins in an April Fool's prank gone awry!). The project's internal name is Baidu Eye. Not sure whether that's going to be its final name. We're doing some internal testing on it now on a small scale, and evaluating where this goes from here. That's why we didn't make any public official announcement on this.
It's an eye-popping demo. The copy on the site reads "unleash your inner Jedi" and you pretty much do look like Obi-Wan using the thing. Which is to say, like a crazy person cosplaying Star Wars in the middle of the street. Adam Lisagor called Google Glass a "Segway for your face" back in April. The Segway was another great idea on paper that failed in part because of human vanity. Segways weren't cool...you looked like a dork riding one. You're gonna look like a dork wearing Google Glass. You're gonna look like a dork unlocking your car with a swipe of your Myo-enabled arm.
But the uncool factor can be overridden in various ways. Nike can make anyone wear anything, especially if it's packaged like a watch with superpowers. A few years ago, you looked like a dork wearing headphones in public but Apple made it cool. Beats By Dre made wearing huge over-the-ear headphones in public cool a few years later. You look like a dork wearing a Bluetooth headset and talking to yourself, but they are cheap and useful enough that it doesn't matter. Mobile phone usage in public used to appear very strange...for awhile it was difficult to tell the brokers-in-a-hurry from the mentally unstable homeless folks muttering to themselves.
That's the challenge for Google Glass and Myo: are these things useful enough and cheap enough to overcome that dork factor or can they somehow be made cool? Because if they aren't and you can't, no one wants to be seen using a Nintendo Power Glove in public and no amount of extreme sports dubstep transitions can save you.
The third episode of the first season of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror was called The Entire History of You, in which many people have their entire lives recorded by implants. Brooker's take on the self-recorded future and Google's rosier view meet in this video:
Black Mirror is currently in its second season in the UK, with no US release on the horizon. Here's what one of the season two episodes is about:
A CG character from a TV show is jokingly put forward to become a member of Parliament. The actor behind the character is uneasy about this new political world he's found himself in, and as the character's popularity among voters increases things begin to take a turn for the worse.