The First Explorers Of Glass

Theodore Ross over at Medium meets Google's Glass Explorers, and tries to figure out what it's actually for.

One useful comparison for the Explorer program would be the 1979 release of what Mohanbir Sawhney, a marketing and technology professor at Northwestern University, called the first piece of wearable technology: the Sony Walkman. (The watch, of course, might dispute this, but I take his point.) “It was not an instantaneous success. Sony really struggled with it,” Sawhney told me. As with Google and Glass, Sony didn’t understand how consumers would use the Walkman. “It was supposed to be a social music-listening device,” he said. People were expected to listen to music together on a single, shared set of headphones. “Turned out to be the opposite.”

This line of reasoning, however, seemed only to lead me back to the beginning: Nothing I’d seen from the Explorers indicated they could help Google fill Glass’s empty vessel with market-ready usefulness. Which, all the experts assured me, was correct. They couldn’t. But no one expected them to, either.