Robert Scoble May Be Google Glass's Biggest Fan

05/13/2013 10:40 am ET
Google Plus: Robert Scoble

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.

And Scoble says that privacy concerns many people have raised about Glass's camera are "totally misplaced."

"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:

9 Best Google Glass Parodies

CONVERSATIONS