Last week, PJ wrote an excellent article comparing early aesthetic critiques of Google Glass to those of the Sony's Walkman. The point was that all technology looks ridiculous and impractical until it becomes useful, and then it's basically indespensible. But cartoonist and journalist Susie Cagle pointed out on her Twitter feed that early Glass adopters may not be finding them all that useful.
Google Glass isn't currently widely available. To get one, you have to put your name on a list and get an invite from the company. You would think that demand would vastly outweigh supply in that circumstance, but Cagle noted that you can find a ton of pairs of Google Glass on San Francisco's Craigslist for less than the market cost.
"Authentic Google Glass for $1250.00. ... I have the lowest price in the market right now." How exclusive. http://t.co/wiT19r0PDR— Susie Cagle (@susie_c) February 5, 2014
Everyone wants out of this expensive nightmare.— Susie Cagle (@susie_c) February 5, 2014
Even more surprisingly, CUNY journalism professor and Google fan Jeff Jarvis tweeted yesterday that he was fed up with Glass. I reached him by phone this morning to find out exactly why he hated them so much and he said that they were simply poorly designed and the user interface just wasn't quite there yet.
"It cost $1500 for Glass," Jarvis told me. "They offer a free exchange for the new version [which includes prescription lenses]. It's in this gigantic case that requires me to walk around with basically a briefcase to wear them. They're not bendable, they spike into my head. My lenses are going to cost $250-$300. It's the waste of it that struck me. It's a neat concept, but it's the final straw of seeing how useless these frames are.
"I just hit an overload of impracticality," says Jarvis. "I live la vida Google. I'm an admirer of Google. But it needs to move past Beta to a heavy dose of market practicality."
Jarvis sees Google Glass as a noble failure, something that will precede a much better and more useful technology. "Glass is to whatever follows what the Newton is to the smart phone."
So, while PJ compared Glass to the Walkman last week, perhaps a more apt comparison would be the 8-track player.