Note: A lot of the ideas here came from a conversation I had with Greg Schlomoff. We were talking about the impact Google has had on the world versus Facebook, which lead to a conversation about Google Glass.

Call me short sighted, but I really don’t think there’s much of a future for Google Glass or the new Pulse by Withings.

Why you ask? Well, that’s easy:

Google Glass forces me to adopt a new device, instead of replacing an old one.

I don’t wear glasses. I don’t carry a small 8 gram rectangular device to clip onto my belt. I carry a phone, I sometimes wear a watch, and I wear a belt. I don’t wear any bracelets, I don’t wear glasses.

If you want me to start carrying a new device, you have to offer me an incredible value proposition, that none of my current devices offer. In the case of Google glass, it does may of the same things my cell phone does, but it doesn’t REPLACE my cell phone.

If it made glasses better (for those who wore them), then it would have a significant value proposition for that demographic. Problem is…people who wear glasses can’t wear Google Glass. The one demographic they could have gotten traction with, they cut out of their beta.

It’s not a micro improvement on something we already use, it’s a completely new device.

The iPhone worked because it created an incremental improvement around the user experience of telephones. Smart Phones already existed, people were already using portable devices as joint telephones and computing devices. (Ah, the ol’ Palm Pilot. I miss it at times). What Apple did is it created a device that enabled you to interact with it in a differentiated manner (the swipe touchscreen), with a powerful user experience around their apps, their unique operating system.

It even cannibalized a very important part of its business: The iPod. It effectively integrated the iPod into a the phone, and made it so we had to carry one less device in our lives.

The iPhone made what I already had in my pocket, so much better.

If Glass, or Pulse, or any of these wearable device companies truly wanted to get early adoption, they’d focus on creating devices that replace any items I currently have. Why not create a watch or a belt or belt buckle?

I don’t buy the efficiency argument.

The argument is that it will make it so I don’t have to pull out my phone every time I want to do something. Fair enough. Is that a really big pain point though? Do I complain every time I have to pull out my phone to take a picture? No - I don’t. There have been maybe two occasions in my entire life where I missed a cool picture because I couldn’t whip my phone out fast enough. That opportunity cost doesn’t justify adding the burden of glasses to my face permanently.

The feedback I keep hearing from people is that the user experience is awkward. The tilt your head back + voice command platform is disruptive, and somewhat antisocial. If efficiency was one of the maind rivers of adoption, they should have focused more intently on the user experience of Glass. Bad UX doesn’t translate to a more efficient platform, no matter how manys teps were cut.

Additionally, The cost of adding something to my face significantly outweighs the benefits of efficiency.

It’s a physical barrier between the wearer and the world

I feel this every time i talk to someone who has Google Glasses on. IT’s hard to explain, but I feel like there’s a barrier between us - I wonder if they’re going to interact with Glass at some point and do something in the middle of our conversation. It feels like they have their phone out, and they’re about to make a call, but are trying to talk to me at the same time - I’m not sure whether our conversation should be brief, or if I should be trying to meaningfully engage with the person.

Some people also seem to feel threatened by Google Glass. They wonder if they’re being recorded, and they feel like the tool could be used against them in some way.

As Greg put it, Google Glass is the equivalent of flying cars, We’ve had flying cars for some time now, but they haven’t been adopted. It’s one of those things that sounds cool to us nerds, but is wholly unpractical.

Now, you could argue that some of the arguments made above will simply go away as we get accustomed to interacting with Glass (both as wear-ers and outsiders). I don’t think that’s right. I think the culmination of all of these negatives significantly outweighs the benefits Glass adds to our lives, and that they will keep Glass from being adopted.

Google Glass will add a significant burden to my life, and it’s unclear what the advantages are. I’m going to look weird. I don’t wear glasses. It’s not replacing anything, it’s going to be IN ADDITION to what I have. With google glass I’m going to have two ways to take pictures, two ways to see if I have any new messages, two ways to do X. It may do some things better than my phone, but it isn’t replacing my phone.

If it replaced my watch, however, that would be a different story. IT’s easy to add a lot of value veyond telling time, and I think I’m ready for a new watch anyways.