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Why I don’t want Google Glass–yet

You can’t be in our business without reading about the hottest new device that no one actually has. And as long as it sets me back $1500, I am OK with not having it. But I know that price will come way down, so that isn’t a long-term problem. No, even if you gave me a pair of Google Glass–er, gave me a Google Glass–um, if you just gave them to me, I am not sure I would want them/it. I’m looking for more than what they do.

From what I read and from the couple of Glass users I have spoken with, they are great for taking pictures and video. But I don’t do that. I have never owned a camera in my life and I barely know how to take pictures on my phone. I use my phone as a, well, phone, and also as a little computer.

Google Glass
Photo credit: Stuck in Customs

So how will Google Glass help me do that? So far, not so much. I’m told that its ability to function as a Bluetooth earpiece is not great–phone calls are inaudible and your voice is hard to hear under noisy conditions–which is where I usually am when I am on my cellphone. I don’t drive a whole lot and, when I do, I have a nice Bluetooth system in my car that works just fine, thank you very much. So, the only time I would need this is when I am in a noisy environment, where it doesn’t work–yet.

Because you can but earpiece/microphone devices for a fraction of that $1500, I don’t expect Google Glass to be bad at this for long. This is a solved problem that they probably just need time to integrate into their hardware with the right weight on top of everything else they are trying to do. They solve this, but that won’t get me to buy it, because I can already but one of those for $150. So, while I need that, I need more.

I need Google Glass to help me use my phone better as a little computer. Or to use my computer directly without having to open it. I am more interested in Google Glass as a “heads up” display than anything else. I am fine with touching my ear all day to press simulated buttons. Not sure I want to speak commands or make gestures in public, but maybe I would get over that when everyone else is doing it. I got over talking on the phone in public.

But I think there is a gadget that I want more than Google Glass. I want a smarter watch. Now, I know, only people over a certain age wear watches because anyone can get the time from their phone. I get that. You know you can get the time from opening your computer, too. Or turning on the TV and tuning to CNN. I know I don’t need a watch to know the time–it is just way easier than digging out my phone and pressing the button. I have been cocking my wrist for decades and I know how to do it even when I am too tired to remember how to do anything else.

And I would love to cock my wrist when a phone call is coming in. Or a text. It takes one hand when I am on the move and carrying something else. And if this voice recognition is so cool, then my Bluetooth earpiece should let me talk the return text into my watch. (I have never put those words together in my life before, but somehow they make sense to me.)

I understand why every time I pick up my phone that I have to press the button to turn on the display and then enter my secret code–I will appreciate the password if I ever lose my phone. But it is really hard to lose a watch–that strap has to break practically. So I shouldn’t need a password on it. When a text comes in, I should be able to cock my wrist and look at it. Same with email. Or a phone call.

Now, maybe the display won’t be high-res enough for that to work very well. The watches I have seen so far are a bit underwhelming. But that would be technology far easier for me to use than Google Glass, so I think I might get that first. Of course when I can use Google Glass as a little computer that gives me augmented reality, too, well, then I just have to get used to the price tag.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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