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Google Glass 'makes you look like a complete dork'

This just in from Google's I/O conference in San Francisco, where Christchurch man Ben Kepes has been trying company's prototype camera-equipped smart glasses.

"Having spent a few hours walking around San Francisco's Moscone center wearing, and trying to use, Google Glass, I'm less worried by the privacy impacts of the device than I am the sartorial impacts," the cloud computing commentator quips.

"Glass is amazing, and a glimpse of the future but frankly wearing them makes you look like a complete dork," he tells NBR ONLINE.

"Even in San Francisco, the home of tech, outside of the Google conference people gave Glass wearers a sideways stare and a wide berth."

On the other coast, uber blogger Robert Scoble has an alternative view: "Our bartenders were just raving over them," he writes - and an amazing pic of New York.

Google Glass lets you record audio, video or still photos (there's even a beta third-party app for taking snaps with an eye blink), then wirelessly share them online.

Friday NZ time, eight members of Congress sent Google a letter (read it here) seeking reassurances about privacy concerns (the politicians are members of a bi-partisan group that bill itself as the "Privacy Caucus").

Certainly, they creep me out. I'd find it deeply uncomfortable to have a meeting - or cup of coffee, or anything - with someone wearing Google Glass.

It might prove yet another example of a smart technology that fails to mesh with human sensibilities - be they fashion or privacy or both.

In terms of privacy - you've already lost it, notes Mr Kepes.

"Glass does extend the concerns people might have about ubiquitous computing," he says.

"But it's only an extension though. The prevalence of smartphones and other connected devices means that our every move is capturable - Glass simply reminds us of that fact. Congress will wring its hands and nash its teeth," the principal says.

"But, dorkiness notwithstanding, the horse has already bolted and ubiquitous wearable computing is coming in the not to distant future."

Right now, a handful of employees have been able to buy Google Glass (for $US1500). The company says it will be commercially available some time next year.

Pairs have also been handed out to some tech celebs and commentators, plus politicians who need to be distracted from international tax issues helpfully brought up to speed with new technology opportunities.

ABOVE: Julia Gillard tries out Google Glass during a February meeting with Google CFO Patrick Pichette.

The Australian PM was also good enough to tweet a link to Google's official promo clip for Glass. To wit:

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Comments and questions

As long you don't look like a dork when you take them off or in other words maybe wearing the glasses can be an improvement or optics-neutral for some?

I'd be worried about creeps wandering around in public watching porn on the Google Glass heads-up display ... although the beer googgles applications could be useful?

I believe the common street term for a person wearing 'Glass' is Glasshole. The marketing dept may have some work to do.

Waiting for the first casualty as a user walks under a bus or is dumb enough to wear a pair when they are driving and then runs over a pedestrian...

Kepes can take some comfort that the Law of Inverse Proportionality is sure to apply -- that is, the more bods who wear them in public, the less of a dork they will feel. Embrace and wear.

Agree that they make you look like a dork, but the same was once said about people with cellphones.

Are you saying that a person using a cell phone in public is not an Aaron Gilmore?

Spied on the interwebs:

Ben is wrong. At SF, they didn't give that look. Rather, everyone was excited. Ben was little bit hyped. Thatz all :-)

Thanks to NBR I was able to recognize that two people on my flight from San Francisco to Boston were wearing the Google glasses, but it took me a while to work it out because they look so weird. I think you will have to be really keen on Google to want to have them on because they are hardly flattering, and it would be impossible to wear sunglasses or regular glasses as well