Google Glass is one of the most innovative pieces of technology ever created. Since it first launched in 2013, the promise of living an active lifestyle with a pair of smartglasses strapped to your head has been an intriguing notion for many tech enthusiasts around the world. And with over 800,000 people currently owning a pair and sales forecasted to surpass 20 million by the year 2018, you’re probably considering making a purchase.
But could wearing Glass be dangerous?
Recent research suggests that Google Glass may not be the savior we’ve all been waiting for to make our lives easier. In fact, even Google has issued warnings that wearing Glass may take a toll on your health. If you currently own a pair or are one of the millions of people who are thinking about it, it’s time to weigh the pros and cons of wearing Google Glass.
- A true “hands-free” experience
A lot of gadgets claim to be hands-free but Google Glass is the only device that eliminates the need to pull out your smartphone or fumble around with a secondary device (like a smartwatch). Glass does most of the things your smartphone can do and is completely controlled by your voice commands. Sending text messages, drafting emails, searching the web, snapping pictures; Glass does it all.
- Makes your life easier
Glass allows you to use technology without worrying about it. This is especially true for active people who use apps like Strava Run/Cycle, GolfSight, and Google Maps. Because Glass is designed for people on the move, you’re able to live lighter while exploring the world at the same time. So instead of staring at your smartphone screen, you can stare at your environment.
- You’re always connected
You don’t have to worry about connecting to a network or opening an app when you’re wearing Google Glass — it’s always on. Whether you want to take a picture, share your status on social media, or find your way with a compass; Google Glass is always awaiting your command. And because you’re always connected to the web, you’ll never miss a moment again.
- May take a toll on your vision
Google warns potential Glass users they may feel eye strain or develop a headache when wearing the device — just like when wearing normal glasses. Google also warns people who’ve had Lasik surgery to consult with their doctor about the potential negative impact Glass may have on their eyes. And if you’re under 13 years old, wearing Glass could harm developing vision.
- Could be a distraction
A new study has found that Glass may curtail your natural peripheral vision. This is extremely dangerous because it may create blind spots that undermine safety while you engage in everyday tasks — like driving or walking. The study compared wearing Google Glass with regular glasses and determined there is a “clinically meaningful” loss of vision in the upper-right quadrant which could potentially cause an accident.
- Not everyone is on board
The movie industry recently banned Google Glass from being allowed inside theaters and other businesses could follow suit. The potential of being recorded without knowing so has made many people skeptical of Glass wearers and you may be shunned for embracing the technology. You may also face ridicule from others who simply “don’t like” Google Glass.
Is Google Glass for Everyone?
Wearables are big business within the technology sector. While still relatively new on the market, sales are increasing at an incredibly fast rate. And Google Glass is only part of the equation. Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and even articles of clothing are all embracing smart-technology. Eventually, it will be as common as smartphones are today.
But wearables aren’t for everyone — especially if you’re considering wearing Google Glass.
You’ll probably want to shy away from wearing Glass if you’re worried about your health or are fearful of getting into an accident. You should also avoid the technology if your vision is still developing or if you’ve had any sort of eye surgery. But for many early adopters and forward thinkers, the risk you take with wearing Google Glass is worth the reward. And just like everything in life, there is a time and a place to use it.
Glass is not designed or meant for you to always be barking commands at it. Instead, Google thinks it’s most useful for micro-interactions as you go about your day. Just like your smartphone, Glass should be used with caution and, above all, consideration. This is the best way to stay safe while still enjoying the technology. It’s also the best way to use it without disturbing others.
As wearable technology becomes more mainstream, it will be interesting to see how people use it. Will we stare at a screen connected to our head the same way we stare at our smartphones? Or will we use it to our advantage and use it only when we need it? The answer is impossible to predict and only time will tell. But if you’re one of the people on the Glass Explorer waiting list, you probably already know the answer.
What do you think? Is Google Glass a convenience or a risk? Do you own a pair? Will you be buying a pair? Let us know in the comments below!