Props to Google for working with the hip glasses maker Warby Parker in an attempt to make its wearable A.I. goggles more stylish, but it will take a lot of social acceptance of robot aesthetics before a face computer looks cool. Despite trading out the metal frames for Warby Parker's signature horn-rimmed look (shown at right), Google Glass will still have one feature that will make them look bizarre: "They have a tiny screen that appears much bigger from the wearer’s perspective than it does on the frame," as The New York Times's Claire Cain Miller explains it. It's hard to see that part going away anytime soon, since it's the gateway to the connected-computing part of the device. Total lens integration would make it better. But, it can't be too close to one's face, or else the wearer can't properly see all those fun things Google Glass can do. For now, the tiny screen is here to stay.
So then, a question: Can that mini computer screen hovering over your eye ever look cool or even just normal? "There’s a reason we all make fun of someone wearing a Bluetooth or a BlackBerry holster," Daniella Yacobovsky, co-founder of BaubleBar, an online jewelry retailer told Miller. "Is it useful? Of course it is. Do I look like a tool? Yeah. I’m not going to wear it."
Even when fashion models don Google Glass specs they look like creatures from a sci-fi flick. What hope does that leave for us normal looking folk? Not much, as chronicled by The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal. A San Francisco bartender explained his feelings about two patrons who walked in wearing the Google glasses as such: "When you buy a new phone, it's in your pocket, but this, you're wearing something on your face. Anyone that cares what they look like is not gonna wear Google glasses. That's my opinion," said Tom Madonna, owner of Shotswell where he's seen a lot of customers bring in weird tech stuff. "If you are super nerdy and you like to show off that you're in tech and smart and all those things, I can see you probably wearing Google Glasses, but you are probably in a bubble," he added. Even the nerds think these things look freakish. At least for now. Perhaps in a couple of years looking like an extra in Star Trek: Voyager will be considered hip?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.