Among the many reasons skeptics have questioned Google Glass, the eyewear that puts the web right in your face at all times, is the idea that we're already too addicted to the Internet; you can't have a conversation with a friend for five minutes without a Facebook notification, text message or email alert interrupting you.
But this is precisely what Robert Scoble, a Bay Area technology blogger who's among the loudest and most widely-followed proponents of the new product, likes about Glass: Now, tasks that previously would involve picking up his phone -- reading email, taking pictures and seeing social notifications -- are seamlessly integrated into his daily routine.
"I'll never take it off the rest of my life," he wrote on his Google+ page.
Hearing Scoble enthusiastically speak of his experience with Glass is like listening to someone straight from Google's marketing team. But Scoble insists he's not on Google's payroll and said that he has no stock in the company. He applied to be a Glass Explorer, a small group of people to test an early version of Glass, and had to pay $1,500 for the device.
"Having it on changes your life," he told The Huffington Post in interviews last week. "It's like the first time you saw a personal computer."
Among the biggest changes for Glass brought for him, Scoble said, is the decrease in time spent looking at his smartphone.
A self-proclaimed smartphone addict, Scoble said that before Glass he would check his phone hundreds of times each day. Now, because notifications from Facebook and Gmail pop up on his Glass display instead of on his smartphone, he estimates that he's looking at his phone 30 to 40 percent less.
"I now have a screen on my face 16 hours a day," Scoble said. "I can talk to that screen and get messages from it. I get pictures without using my hands [and] I get directions without looking down at a screen."
"It lets me keep in constant contact with the Internet but it's less distracting than my phone," he added.
The idea that a Glass user spends less time looking down at his smartphone -- Americans now use the devices for an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes each day -- is part of what Google is going for with the product.
Introducing Glass at a conference in February, Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, told the audience that the company wanted to "make something that frees your hands ... and something that frees your eyes."
But to those interacting with people wearing Glass, the technology may at first seem a bigger distraction than ever. With smartphones, you can easily tell if the person you're talking to has stopped paying attention when he looks down at his screen. With Glass, a user can quickly -- and mid-conversation -- shift her eyes to see a notification when it appears on the display. The display then lights up and indicates that there's activity, something that could prove off-putting to others.
Far from a distraction, Scoble, for his part, said that Glass has helped streamline tasks. For example, it's completely changed the way he takes pictures. "If I'm bringing groceries in and my kids are doing something cute, I have to put my groceries down, find my smartphone, pull it out and suddenly they're not doing the cute thing anymore," he said.
"It's really hard to take a candid photo of somebody with this without you totally freaking them out because you have to look at them," he said. "There's a lot better ways to spy on you than using Google Glass."
He conceded, however, that some people may think that we're losing an element of being human -- like "we've given ourselves to the borgs" -- when we wear computers on our faces.
"I don't know if that's a loss," Scoble said. "To me, it's a gain."
Earlier on HuffPost:
Google Glasses: A New Way To Hurt Yourself
It didn't take very long for Tom Scott to upload <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/05/google-glasses-parody-project-glass_n_1406274.html" target="_hplink">this hilarious spoof</a> of Google's "Project Glass" video -- he literally posted his video on the same day Google posted theirs. In a short 20 seconds, he shows all that could go wrong with a futuristic tech device like this one.
Windows Project Glass: One Day Too...
What if Google's glasses <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/project-glass-parody-smashes-windows_n_1412340.html" target="_hplink">ran Windows</a>? It's likely the problems (and pop-ups) would be endless, as shown in this parody <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZwModZmOzDs" target="_hplink">by Vlakkeland</a>.
Google Glasses Warfare [Project Glass: One Day Parody]
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rM4KF0SAm0I" target="_hplink">Binx Films</a> goes gamer on Google's "Project Glass" video, showing how the device would work in the middle of a Call of Duty-like mission.
Project Ass: Google Goggles (The Parody)
The wearer of Google's glasses in this <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=-KmFSmkDyr8" target="_hplink">Grad Life production</a> definitely makes the video hilarious with how he puts them to use.
Project Dangerous Glasses
With this video, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ma8NbpCvSwo" target="_hplink">Happy Toaster</a> shows how not-so-great Google's high-tech glasses might be, especially playing up how it may point out the way-too-obvious and even accidentally cause a death.
Google Project Glass - Cheating Wife Parody
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5vrxfiXU5lo" target="_hplink">LessFilms' funny video</a> points out yet another pitfall (or perhaps plus?) of having Google glasses: You can find out if your loved one is cheating whether you like it or not.
ADmented Reality - Google Glasses Remixed With Google Ads
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/05/is-this-what-google-glasses-video_n_1406993.html" target="_hplink">Jonathan McIntosh</a> tells it to the world straight <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_mRF0rBXIeg" target="_hplink">with his Google glass spoof</a>. In the same way that Google pages are riddled with ads, he suggests that Google's glasses might be filled with ads, too -- but they'll be a lot more distracting.
Google Glasses: FIRST HANDS ON!
Unfortunately, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RC8p8olw2oU" target="_hplink">Studio Hoofnail's short parody</a> of Google's video ends quite tragically -- but not before poking fun at its potential shortcomings.
Google's Project Glass
Even <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/06/jimmy-kimmel-google-project-glass-video_n_1407927.html" target="_hplink">Jimmy Kimmel had his fun</a> with Google's "Project Glass" video. The clip he shows may <em>look</em> like the original, but keep on watching to discover the funny bit he added on.
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Google unveils a preview of its futuristic Web-based digital glasses that puts the company's Web services, literally, in your face.