A lot of buzz is surrounding Google Glass as we reach the 2014 consumer release date and much of it is focused on the camera. Glass can take pictures and record video without lifting a finger. Users simply spout off a voice command and — snap — the picture’s taken.
Tech journalists, bloggers and photographers are scrambling to get their hands on a demo pair, as Glass isn’t yet available to the public, and reviews are coming in as mostly positive. Google Glass is the first of its kind to hit the market and its impact on the public is relatively unpredictable. But as unique as its new camera claims to be, the next big deal in photography isn’t ready to revolutionize the industry just yet.
An Awkward Look
Photo by Ted Eytan via Flickr
Choose three words to describe Google Glass and “fashionable” probably won’t be one of them. The advantage of popular phones on big networks like the iPhone or Galaxy S4 is that they’re cool — consumers don’t just want the product, they want to be seen using the product too.
Gadget nerds and tech enthusiasts will have no problem leaving the house wearing a pair of these, but the regular consumer want something more along the lines of Ray Bans or Oakley’s when it comes to facial accessories. Until big brands find a way to integrate Glass into their eyewear, Glass’ market could stay niche.
You Talk to Yourself
The voice-command feature for iPhone, Siri, is a useful and intuitive tool, but how often is it used in public? It’s easy to say, “Hey Glass, take a picture” to snap a photo, but without any visual context for those around you, it looks like you just wandered out of a mental hospital.
When a smartphone user raises a camera up for a picture, the person on the other side knows what’s about to happen. But the process behind Glass can be surprising or even invasive. The simple truth is no one is used to getting their picture taken by a voice command and glasses. There will be a huge cultural gap when Glass is released in 2014 before that sort of photography is normal.
The Camera is Good, Not Great
Tech Radar reports the camera on Google Glass shoots 5MP photos and records video in 720p. Not bad, but it doesn’t touch smartphone capabilities. The iPhone shoots photos in 8MP and video in 1080p while some Android phones go even higher. Couple better quality with the convenience of connecting to the Internet and smartphones currently have a distinct advantage over Google Glass. Once it proves it can reliably connect to high-speed Internet, Glass will gain some ground on smartphones.
“But with voice command, Google Glass’s camera is fast!” — not necessarily. It’s true that because Glass is always fixed at a first-person perspective, it’s always aimed to snap a photo, but smartphones give users access to the camera from the lock screen, making picture-taking nearly as quick.
Google Glass is the first step in what could be the next big trend in technology, but as it stands, we’re not witnessing the replacement of the smartphone camera. Companies like Apple have a six-year head start and don’t plan on giving up the crown of most popular camera any time soon. But until Glass is available to the public in 2014, we can’t know for sure.