Google Glass has a problem. Putting it mildly, it’s perceived by many non-users to be offensive. It’s a pretty rare problem and I can’t really think of other products that have encountered such dislike along with technological awe.
A few examples of the current attitude towards Glass:
1. The not-so-flattering term “Glasshole” was coined to describe a user so immersed in their Glass they ignore the world around them.
2. Google issued a social do’s and don’ts of wearing Google Glass, with the last item on the list being “Don’t be creepy or rude.” As if that needed to be said.
3. Today’s barroom brawl which made it to the mainstream press with the appealing headline: “Woman Wearing Google Glass Says She Was Attacked in a San Francisco Bar.”
So we have an established pattern of dislike. But my question is what’s behind this dislike? And more importantly, how can Google change Glass to overcome this dislike.
Usually, when we look at products and product design our goal is mostly to delight the user. Sure, we need to make sure we’re aligned with the business goals, vision and so on, but the number one goal is make a product that users will like. Glass seems to have done that pretty well, the awe at its launch quantified by the number of techies getting a new Twitter avatar with Glass.
To solve Glass’s acceptance problem it would be wise to consider what non-users think. I may be going out on a limb here, with extremely limited market research done to support my position, but the “creepiness” factor seems like it’s mostly a result of a feeling that someone could be recording you without your knowledge. The “antisocial” factor could be a result of feeling that the Glass wearer is constantly looking at the screen when talking to you, causing you not to feel as if you’re the center of attention.
Would it help if there were two lights on the front of Glass as indicators to non-users?
Say a red light for when Glass is recording and a blue light for when the screen is on. By seeing that both lights are off the non-user can feel a bit less threatened by Glass. And feeling less threatened might promote greater acceptance by the non-Glass wearing public.