Google Glass certainly isn’t lacking in the whiz-bang factor. The gadget was publicly introduced with a skydiving stunt; just yesterday, the company released a video from the point of view of a user, demonstrating how seamlessly the spectacles can capture your exciting life of hot-air ballooning and snake charming.
But now comes the hard part: Getting normals to want the damn things. Unlike many software developers and/or Betabeat reporters, most of America isn’t likely to be sold on the pitch that hey, it’s just like what Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge wore on Star Trek TNG!
Hence, step one is to make the things a little sleeker. The New York Times reports today that sources say, as part of a stab at style, Google is currently in negotiations with Warby Parker to get some design help with the project. If the company plans to start selling Glass to the wider world later this year, such a partnership would come not a moment too soon.
Right now, you’d be forgiven for spotting Glass in the wild and thinking it’s some sort of medical contraption:
OH: “I saw someone in Dolores Park wearing Google Glass. I thought she was wearing headgear for a jaw problem at first.”
— Mike Isaac (@MikeIsaac) February 20, 2013
The problem is getting the device to look like something other than, at best, a glorified Bluetooth headset. BaubleBar cofounder Daniella Yacobovsky helpfully condensed the problem with that for the Times: “Is it useful? Of course it is. Do I look like a tool? Yeah. I’m not going to wear it.” And right now? Even models look a little dorky wearing the things. Sergey Brin, the face of Google Glass, is now weirdly jacked, but it’s going to take more than a few hours with designer Diane von Furstenberg to make him a fashion icon.
But the appearance of Silicon Alley cool kid Warby Parker has us wondering whether we’ve been mistaking the market for Google Glass all along. Maybe a computer for your face isn’t the ultimate nerd toy. Maybe it’s actually the perfect status symbol for no-brandcuffs startup-guy founders. Jazz up the frames with a bit of tortoise, and forget the Pebble–suddenly Google Glass is the new Nike Fuelband.
Once this things hit the shelves, you will never again be able to have a conversation with a founder when he’s not checking his email.