On 15 April Google GOOG +1.11% will sell Google Glass for one day only, at $1500. I had to read that twice to make sure it wasn’t an April Fool. They’re really going to charge that much and then withdraw it immediately. Someone with a spreadsheet has worked out the balance between expensiveness and exclusivity and found this is the model that will work for the moment. Whether it will work to establish the technology as any sort of serious force is wide open to question.
I’m not a Google Glass naysayer and can see it has practical applications as long as it’s handled sensitively. Having information on the people in front of you could help a large corporation – imagine working for a company the size of Google, Apple AAPL -0.18%, Microsoft MSFT -0.21%, that sort of order, visiting an office you don’t know and having all the people neatly labelled with some sort of insight into what they do as they walk past. Let’s not be cynical, this could do some good as long as it only makes things public with the subject’s permission.
Of course there will be occasions on which the subject may have meant something slightly different.
A quick guide to social media euphemisms
Let’s imagine, for example, you see me running towards the train station. It is 10.15am. You put your Google glasses on and you see my latest Tweet above my head – “Blasted train delay, I won’t make that 10.00 meeting” – because that’s what I want the other people in the meeting to think.
That’s frivolous of course. But there may be other times it isn’t relevant or desirable for someone to be able to summon up my latest (personal)Facebook status update which talks about a gig to which I took my daughter over the weekend; it’s just clutter for the business user, it’s not helpful.
Then there are job interviews. I put on my best suit, I walk into a meeting full of confidence and you’re wearing Google Glasses – forget making an effort and making the right impression immediately, for better or worse, Google Glass will be doing it for you.
Many people have written Google Glass off as a gimmick. A one-day, highly-priced event and subsequent withdrawal of the item does little to assuage those criticisms. I’m still expecting the technology to do good things but it will need time to find the applications in which it’s going to be genuinely useful. A one-day event will keep it in the headlines but any real benefit will emerge from a longer-term, more sensibly-priced push.