Google Glasses had another coming-out moment yesterday when they were worn by the first normal person — well, the lieutenant governor of California— instead of Google co-founder Sergey Brin or another Google engineer.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called the prototype "amazing" and raved about the quality of the tiny display over his right eye. But would the ever-dapper politician — who was mayor of San Francisco before he assumed state office — actually wear this gear when it debuts, as Brin hopes, in 2013?
What looks good in a sci-fi movie doesn't always translate to real-life fashion. Ever see someone outside of ComicCon dressed as Boba Fett? And head-mounted displays have been the epitome of dorkiness for a long time. I freaked people out — even in San Francisco —10 years ago while testing one.
Google Glasses brings back memories of those days, supplying material for satire to many skeptics ( including TechNewsDaily.)
But something has happened since the early 2000s. We now have screens in front of our eyes all the time: We call them smartphones. And, really, which looks dorkier: wearing a slim pair of glasses, or holding a box up in front of your face as you run into people and step out into traffic?
As Brin put it when talking to Newsom, "You want to be free to experience the world without futzing with a phone."
Let's go back even farther. Would Don Draper have been willing to stare at an iPhone as he was strolling around Manhattan?
No, that jump in tech would have been too jarring for a man having enough trouble just accepting the Beatles. But he might have managed the smaller jump of holding a gizmo – the cellphone – up to his ear, because he was already used to holding an analog receiver at work.
And once we all got used to cellphones, putting an LCD screen on them didn't seem so odd.
Since we're already not just used to, but addicted to, our smartphones, is it such a jump to put the phone in our pocket and just don some specs — which, after all, have been around since perhaps the 13th century? That seems like enough time to get used to the idea.