Google seeks geek chic: You got your Glass Wayfarers on, baby

When I was a kid I didn’t want to wear glasses because I was afraid people would make fun of me and call me “four eyes.” Now I’m an adult, and for $1,500 (or so), soon I will be able to buy a pair of Google Glass — and then I can have people make fun of me, or, worse, beat me up.

It’s called, uh, progress.

Of course, Google Glass aren’t glasses, although yes, they look like glasses. No, Google Glass are wearable computers. (Fortunately, they’re light; imagine having to tote an original IBM PC around on one’s head!)

But Google Glass has been getting a bad rap lately. Seems that people who share every aspect of their daily lives on Facebook and Instagram (and with the NSA, though that’s another can of worms), happily snapping selfies — naked and otherwise — on their smartphones, just don’t care for people who look at them in bars and such through Google Glass.

It’s about privacy, darn it, and we don’t want ours invaded by some tech geek and his all-seeing, all-recording wearable computer thingy!

But Google didn’t get to be The Google without being marketing savvy. So on Monday it set out to do something about the geek part, at least: It announced that it was teaming up with Luxottica, the company behind such fashion-forward eyeware brands as Oakley, Persol, Prada, Ray-Ban and Versace. Oh, and Luxottica also owns LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut and Pearle Vision. (Gee, wonder what they’ll be selling soon?)


Imagine. In a few years, someone will be singing: “I can see you / Your brown skin shining in the sun / You got your hair slicked back and those / Google Glass Wayfarers on, baby / I can tell you my love for you will still be strong / After the boys of summer have gone.”

Sorry, Don Henley; just remember: Don’t look back, don’t ever look back.

Will it work? Will Google Glass be techie and chic? You know: Is that George Clooney behind those Foster Grant Google Glass?

Well, at this point, I certainly wouldn’t bet against Google. My guess is there are plenty of folks eager to join the Google Glass elite, chic or otherwise. In fact, Google may be getting ahead of itself: Part of the appeal of Google Glass at this stage may be the “wow,” factor, as in “Oh, look, he has Google Glass on.” Kinda like “Yes, that’s my Tesla. Bet you wish you could afford one.”

So no, it isn’t the chic factor that has me undecided about Google Glass. Rather, it’s the wearable computer part.

My phone is already smarter than I am. I read that soon my watch will be too. And, it appears, my glasses.

The questions then will be: Just how much high-tech gear does one need to get through life? And just how connected do we want to be? And, more practically, what happens if it rains and you don’t have an umbrella? (“Wait, stop, my glasses have shorted out! And, holy cow, now my watch! Honey, I’m going offline! Mayday! Mayday!”)

Maybe it was better just having to endure being called “four eyes.”


Malaysia Air Flight 370: The spooky questions we still can’t answer

Why the feminist commentariat was wrong about the L’Wren Scott headlines

When rulers go bad: A peek inside 5 doomed dictators’ opulent lifestyles [Photos]

Follow Paul Whitefield on Twitter @PaulWhitefield1 and Google +