I've written previously about my intuition that we're going to see a suite of sleek and posh boutique Google stores that are centered around Glass start to pop up and today I'd like to write a little more about why I think that's a brilliant idea.

There are already prototypes

If you flew to San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York to have a Glass fitting then you already saw one of these. There is a team of young hip people in all white rooms handing out iPad like packaging.

They offer you mimosas or coffee/tea. And then they walk you through every aspect of the device and UI. The experience is very much like an Apple store but even more select.

Glass is a new UI

The Glass UI is really simple. It consists of moving cards to the left and right in your vision by swiping back/forth and down as well as tapping on the side of the device. You can consume the breadth and depth of it in just a few minutes.

Still it really does pay to spend the 30 minutes and have someone walk you through the UI for the first time. If someone just put Glass on your head and said 'Good luck' most people wouldn't figure it all out in 30 minutes.

That alone means that Google needs to be careful how they get these to the public. If people start getting hold of them without having a primer on the UI it could be a bad thing.

People are interested

People everywhere are extremely interested in Glass. Wear one to a local Coffeeshop and see how quickly you can get out of there without letting each person in the room try it out.

One of the things that make an Apple store so compelling is the buzz of a crowd of excited people. I can see people being even more excited about Glass because we've become conditioned to the iPhone/iPad. They're no longer a big deal. Glass on the other hand is a whole new form of computing and I'm sure the general public will react to that.

There is a big misunderstanding of Glass

I've never witnessed as big a cultural misunderstanding and fear of a product than what we're seeing with Glass. And that's just because no one has had a chance to try them on and see the UI. People are incorrectly assuming that it's like full virtual or augmented reality when it's just not in fact like that at all.

There is also the assumption that when wearing one you'll be staring off into space all the time or that as a race we'll stop remembering people's names because our Glass will be there to remind us who the person we're talking to is based on facial recognition from the camera.

Then there is the overwhelming fear that every Glass wearer is just going around recording everything and everyone.

All of these fears could be relieved or addressed appropriately if there was a place the general public could go to experience Glass.

An unscientific example

My wife is the perfect example. For the last year since I ordered the device she has been unable to see the potential or why I would want one. Without even being plugged into the tech media she echoed many of the concerns above.

When Google emailed me and told me when to pick up my Glass they told me that I could bring one person so of course I invited her. The fact that there was a super hip Google spokesman to hold our hand and walk us through the experience over champagne was like a posh boutique from the future.

After playing around with Glass that day she said "I never thought I'd see something like that in my life."

Context is everything

Glass is huge. Moving the computer up to eye level and bringing voice up the level of touch with regards to primary interaction with the device changes the context of the machine--and that changes everything.

Google has a hit on their hands but it's up to them to give each new user a primer on how to use the device--and for this I foresee a Glass Store.

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28 May 2013