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Surprising Science

Google Glass on Sale Today for a Limited Time

Didn’t get picked to be a Google Glass Explorer? For a limited time, now’s your chance to get your gadget-hungry hands on the Star Trek-like accessory. People in the U.S. can order the Google Glass Explorer Edition online at this site for $1,500 a pair, around the price of a MacBookPro. But can you get used to going about your business with a computer strapped to your face? 

Here are some videos that show what it’s like to wear Google Glass:  

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We applaud Google for being innovative and investing in building something entirely new. As we’ve written here before, if Google truly wanted to be innovative it would have skipped the glasses and gone straight to contact lenses. Yes, “smart” contact lenses are actually in development. Don’t worry, you have quite a bit of time to save up before they hit the market!

With all things new, there’s an inevitable backlash. As The Huffington Post points out, Google Glass has become a symbol of tech industry excess, satirized in HBO’s new series “Silicon Valley.” There’s even a term for people who sport them: Glassholes. 

Google has changed the design, to make it blend with eyewear we’re used to seeing. So maybe “glassholes” can get away with their gadget love. Regardless, The Huffington Postwarns of social stigma:   

Say you have $1,500 that you’d rather not put towards a vacation or, I don’t know, retirement. Now think about what it will feel like to be called a “Glasshole.” Can you handle that?

People have even been attacked for wearing Google Glass, which is ridiculous. If we don’t have early adopters to eagerly wear the first generation of a product, essentially crowd-sourcing as they inevitably take to Facebook and Twitter to vent about the user experience, then how can that product be improved?   

Besides, the status symbol debate is nothing compared to the accusations that Google Glass is an Orwellian tool. 

The Independent explains here: 

Google Glass is the first major salvo in an arms race that is going to see increasingly intrusive efforts made to join up our real lives with the digital businesses we have become accustomed to handing over huge amounts of personal data to.

The Independent compares wearing these hot little gadgets to having “CCTV cameras everywhere”: 

Yet that is the reality of Google Glass. Everything you see, Google sees. You don’t own the data, you don’t control the data and you definitely don’t know what happens to the data. Put another way – what would you say if instead of it being Google Glass, it was Government Glass? A revolutionary way of improving public services, some may say. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think it’d have much success.

So while innovation is always something to be welcomed, technology is only as good, or as bad, as those who use it. And that, despite the creative freedom these gadgets may allow, is inescapable. 

For more on Google Glass, watch SNL’s “review”: 


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