Glass Explore and Explorer


Google I/O kicked off today with not much fanfare around Glass. From a pure awareness stand point, Glass is the best thing that happened to Augmented Reality since the iPhone. And as a champion of the Augmented Reality industry from way back in 2007 – I am an avid supporter.

But Glass Explorers* make me angry (*users of the Google Glass prototype.)

I am not angry at Explorers because they love to walk on the street with Glass so that passerbys stop and ask them about it (although passerbys just want to take selfies with Glass)

Glass Selfie2

I am not angry at Explorers because they love getting into bars just to be denied service. Nor am I angry because they drive cars with Glass just to annoy highway patrol officers.

And you know what, I am not even angry at their eagerness to pay an exuberant amount of money to be testers in the most expensive beta program ever.

All that doesn’t bother me so much.

As Jon Stewart says : Intolerance shouldn’t be tolerated.

You know why I am angry at Glass Explorers?

Because they totally mistake the purpose of wearing.

In the Daily Show’s “Glass Half Empty” segment a Glass Explorer explains: “it’s basically a cell phone on your face.”


Daily show wearing Glass

“Make calls, get email, surf the internet…accessibility to everything on your cell phone” but now “right there on your eye”.

This is a bad case of skeuomorphism. Arrrgh!


Skeuomorphism: a dial phone on a touch screen!?

Can’t escape the comparison to Dumb and Dumber.

The “Glass Half Empty” Explorer argues: “With Glass you maintain in the here and now…”

So far – that’s brilliant. With Augmented Reality you Play in the Now.

But then he continues: “when I check messages I am looking in your general direction – I am not distracted.”

Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any more explorer. Or dumber.

Dumb and dumberer

My friend (and I mean it from the bottom of my heart), if you are reading a text message while talking to me – you ARE distracted. And looking in my GENERAL direction is like farting in my general direction.

Maybe these are just run-of-the-mill explorers regurgitating talking points.

So I asked a [very] senior [and very smart] member of the Google Glass team what’s the most compelling Glass app he’s seen so far. He didn’t flinch when answered: “Texting.”


This makes me mad!!!

The second Law of Augmented Reality design clearly states “Augmented Reality must not distract from reality”.

Second law of AR design

If it does distract you – it ventures into virtual reality which is an escape from the real world. The fundamental purpose of Augmented reality is to make you more aware of the real world and make things around you more interactive. Because in an interactive world everything you do is more engaging, productive, and fun.

The Simpsons’ Days of Future Future episode warns us about the consequences of not paying attention to the real world:


An incident that brought my anger to a head: A senior member of the Glass team which recently participated in a Glass Class at AWE 2014 didn’t agree to be video-taped or mentioned by name while at the same time was wearing Glass and [could have] recorded us all…


When I calm down, I’ll show what I consider good uses of Augmented Reality.

In the meantime check out over a hundred videos from AWE 2014 – the world’s largest event focused on Augmented Reality, Wearables, and the Internet of Things.

4 Responses

  1. Ori, first of all it was great to meet you at AWE last month. Please stretch out with your feelings, to quote Star Wars, beyond anger. I think you are missing what texting can be on Glass and eyewearable devices in general, and how important this is to make smart glasses mainstream mobile devices that enable AR. The goal is not the same old texting, but to re-define texting UX.

    Texting popularity (now greater than phone or email) was driven by the public’s lust for faster/shorter/more discrete communication, which is far greater than the need for AR. We Explorers have an opportunity to totally re-invent texting to make Glass a communication platform first and foremost. My vision is to make texting something new, intuitive and beloved by all: EyeSpeech. Once it’s EyeSpeech, it won’t be texting anymore.

    When Facebook bought Oculus, do you remember what MZ said? Oculus will be an important communication platform. Not virtual reality platform. Not AR platform. Communication. Why? The entire computing and mobile device revolution was about communication. Eyewearables are just the way to revolutionize the platform to make it lose all vestiges of sedentary devices.

    There are no two ways about it: texting is the most ubiquitous, most popular, most necessary mobile app. It defines the fundamental act of communication in the digital age. It is the common denominator in most hugely successful apps, Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc.

    Rather than belittle it, re-imagine it, as I have with my EyeSpeech technology or Whirlscape has with their Minuum keyboard. If you want smart glasses and AR to take off, you must first address the UX of communication on the device and texting is chief among communication methods.

    Give eyewearable adopters something they will love to use. Something addictive and fun and new. Don’t make them text by dictation, as Glass currently does, which is antithetic to the UX of SMS. Stop scaring the public with talk of AR, facial recognition, etc. The average mobile user doesn’t understand this technology and now equates Glass with AR, which will hurt – not help – the adoption of eyewearables. You and I understand how important AR can be, but Joe Sixpack…not so much.

    Until we as a wearables community can revolutionize the most basic and fundamental act of communication, we will not gain traction with other types of apps, including AR apps.

    So please adjust your thinking. Re-inventing texting on Glass is not dumb, and it is certainly not dumber. It is an opportunity to build an entirely new technology that interfaces with the eye and makes smart glasses the new must-have communication platform that consumers love to use.

    Then and only then will you have a successful platform to launch revolutionary AR apps, which you and I both believe will be a very important part of our future. But please, the basics first.

  2. Awesome comment Greg!
    That’s exactly the kind of thinking I was hoping to elicit. I love the idea of EyeSpeech and the revolution it can bring. Sticking to what we know and reusing it with no adjustments in a totally new experience (like “face computers”) is dumb. Reinventing texting is brilliant!

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