I think Google might be confused about the exact meaning of the word “winning”.  They recently 
notified the “winners” of their Twitter Google Glass contest that they’ll be giving away…oh, wait, that’s right, they’re not “giving” anything away to the “winners” accept the “privilege” of being allowed to pay them $1500 to beta test their new product.

steve martin glassesThere are two types of winning; either you work towards “winning” a competition of some sort, or you are picked from a pool to receive a prize.  So how exactly is being told “Hey, you there, you can buy our product for more than we’re going to sell it for when it comes out… and oh yeah, its’ only a beta test, so its probably not even going to be as fully functional as the final thing…oh, and you’re still going to then have to buy the official release when it comes out” winning anything? 

The problem I see is that there are people, probably even among the “winners”, who do actually see this as winning.  This is as clear a symptom of how thoroughly we’ve been brainwashed into embracing hyper-consumerism as a fat lip is of getting smacked in the mouth.  Only in this case Google is slapping people in the face and they’re loving it, asking for more, and convincing themselves that somehow its good for them. 

When Apple’s smart watch is nearing release they should have a “contest” where people can “win” the privilege of paying $1500 for the beta version.  But to enter the contest you have to pay an entry fee of $3000.  I’d bet the farm Apple would get ten thousand mindless zombies to fork over the dough. 
Borg_MaleSomething that cannot be ignored is the recent preemptive strike against the perceived abuses and dangers of Google Glass.  It’s become something of a tongue-in-cheek off-hand comment that Google Glass will usher in a new era of spying, stalking, and surveillance.  If you think about it, why would people not use it for that?  In many ways Facebook is just a platform for covert observation of one’s “friends”.  The technology in Google Glass will undoubtedly take the creep-factor of the internet to a whole new level. 
What about the dangers?  If people are already distracted while driving their vehicles by checking tweets on their mobile devices, having a HUD at all times while driving is certainly going to lead to more accidents.  What about those YouTube Videos of idiots falling into fountains, or just crashing into stuff?  It’s certainly reasonable to be concerned that Google Glass will increase the level of distraction in our lives. 

konami-laser-scope-lSomething tells me this HUD style interface just isn’t going to be what we think it is.  In a world where people walk around staring down at their phones do we really need another measure of distraction?  Maybe there’s something to be said for those who feel we’re becoming too inseparable from technology.  It doesn’t seem like a stretch to describe the latest innovations in mobile tech as little more than catering to our increased obsession with instant gratification.  If you really can’t wait a few minutes to see what your friend tweeted about his tofu dog, or find out if you’re ex changed their relationship status, then maybe you’ve got a real problem that beaming the internet directly into your skull won’t solve!

image source: [thetechblock] [guardian] [wirebot] [beertripper]