Google's smartglasses are far from perfect, but we have to give the company credit for always positioning the current iteration of Glass as a work-in-progress. I would qualify the Glass Explorer program as the ultimate alpha test of any prototype in consumer-tech history--insomuch as Google has recruited thousands of hardware testers, publicly, to help its engineers work out the kinks.
And now, in a Friday blog post titled "The Top 10 Google Glass Myths," Google once again reminds us the current Glass version isn't even a beta version of a shipping product. The language is clear and precise, and suggests the consumer version of Glass won't resemble the hardware that's currently causing so much controversy and turmoil in San Francisco bars (I've used bold type for emphasis in the following blog quote):
Myth 4 - Glass is ready for prime time
Glass is a prototype, and our Explorers and the broader public are playing a critical role in how it's developed. In the last 11 months, we've had nine software updates and three hardware updates based, in part, on feedback from people like you. Ultimately, we hope even more feedback gets baked into a polished consumer product ahead of being released. And, in the future, today's prototype may look as funny to us as that mobile phone from the mid 80s.
In other words: Today's Explorer version is not a polished product, and a future version--perhaps the one Google is promising for release later this year?--will make us forget the challenging UI and comfort challenges of today's Glass model.
Or at least that's my hopeful interpretation. I'm an Explorer. I love Glass' Hangouts feature, which allows me to instant-message friends completely with voice dictation. I also think Glass offers a convenient, hands-free image-capture workflow. But I find the overall UI clunky and unreliable (it requires too much scrolling, and voice control doesn't consistently work), and I often get eyestrain if I use Glass for too long.
Beyond the destruction of the "Glass is ready for prime time" myth, the blog post is heavy on both brand-messaging and reputation-management, but also includes a slew of basic facts that might make non-techy, normal folks feel less hate and suspicion the next time they see an Explorer walking down the street or entering a restaurant.