Google Glass Devotee Knows You're Staring

Jan 6, 2014
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The device that really made the words wearable computing part of the tech lexicon was Google Glass. The high-tech glasses put the Internet, a video camera and apps right on your face. And we're going to hear now about someone who's been wearing it.

MAT HONAN: Awkward. It's really awkward.


That's Mat Honan, a senior writer for Wired. He's one of thousands selected to try out Google Glass. He just published an article on the experience. He says when you wear Glass out in public, you get reactions.

HONAN: I feel like I look a little bit like a cyborg, you know. I feel like I look a little Geordi-ish from "Star Trek" or it just looks future nerd.


CORNISH: Yes, nerd alert.

SIEGEL: But it's not just the nerd factor. Honan's been wearing his Google Glass for almost a year and he says people just get uncomfortable around a device that could covertly record them.

HONAN: You know, I've had the experience where people have talked in sort of stage whispers about the Glass, you know. You'll hear somebody say something like, look at that guy. What's he doing with that on here? And I'm not using a pejorative that I've heard because this is for radio. But...

CORNISH: Yeah, thanks for that. But Mat Honan says there are some handy upsides to a computer on your head.

HONAN: You can look at a sign and it'll translate it for you using an app. You can follow directions while you're cooking without having to take your hands away from, like, your knife or the things you're doing or put your greasy fingers on a tablet.

CORNISH: Honan thinks wearables are here to stay. Still, he says those weird looks and stage whispers from passing strangers show Google does need to change something to put the public at ease.

HONAN: They're going to have to look good. They're going to have to look normal. They're going to have to look like it's not a face computer. You know, if it looks like a face computer, nobody is going to want to wear it.

SIEGEL: Mat Honan. He's been wearing white Google Glasses for much of the past year. He is now upgrading them to tangerine. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.