I Didn’t Know You Wore Google

Google cofounder Sergey Brin being fitted with a Project Glass prototype headset.

If you thought HMD stood for “Holt McDougal”—well, you’re right; but make way for the head-mounted display. Project Glass is Google’s cutting-edge effort to create a wearable augmented reality (AR) headset, through which you see not only what’s before your eyes but what’s in the wireless ether around you. The technology would become practically a part of you, in the way glasses are, with all the apps that work on a smartphone or tablet at your voice command. Need a weather report, a calendar reminder, or a walking map to your destination? Want to talk or video chat with a friend, make an impulse purchase, or photograph whatever you see? It’s as easy as walking around engrossed in a headphone bubble—and easier than staring down at a smartphone screen. Soon, you’ll be able to cocoon your way through life tethered to the Internet via the “glasses” on your head.

OK, it’s just a prototype; it’s not yet at a store near you. But once the accountants settle on a price point, the designers devise an appropriately stylish look, and the engineers solve all the software challenges, it will be. What consequences would the widespread adoption of such a technology have? The kind of everyday existence into which this device is designed to fit raises questions about the nature of human individuality in community.

Columnist Ross Douthat, reacting to Google’s Project Glass promo video, points to how it “captures the sense of isolation that coexists with our technological mastery.” In his view, “the Man with the Google Glasses” epitomizes “modernity’s mix of achievement and alienation.” This take echoes sociologist Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together (2011), which suggests that the possibility of genuine human connection, not to mention solitude, is threatened by the lure of virtual relationships, which despite their immediacy and accessibility, tend to be superficial.

Image credit: © AP Photo/Foundation Fighting Blindness, Corbett Lee of Knight Lights Photography

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  1. Badger says:

    so cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!!! Need some for myself, the war lord

  2. Taylor says:

    I Acually Think If I Have That I Would Run Into Stuff Cause I Would Be Really Focused To It. But If I Had One It Would Be Amazing(:

  3. steve jobs says:

    woot woot

  4. logan miller says:

    hello theses are awsome so send me a pair for free

  5. Anonymous says:

    That’s cool as He**!

  6. Anonymous says:

    …the’ve actually made a real one… it’s .Hack all over again

  7. cheeselover extreme! says:

    They’ll hack our brains and steal our cheese!! AHHHH!

  8. phil says:


  9. techno steve says:

    Wow that’s awesome but it would cost a lot and I would rather buy a normal phone.