Can Google Glass ever be fashionable?

While Robert Scoble posts pictures of himself wearing Google Glass in the shower, those of a more intellectual bent offer that there are historical reasons why Google Glass may never catch on.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read
Style, this is not. Robert Scoble/Google+

When real, normal people get a hold of Google Glass, they might be fascinated.

Equally, they might be underwhelmed. Their sense of underwhelment might increase with every mocking comment they get from other real, normal people.

In any case, Google Glass won't be thrust into the real, normal world for a year. Or even more.

Meanwhile, we have to struggle with the knowledge that tech personality Robert Scoble wears his in the public toilets. During the weekend, he even posted an image of his hirsute, unsuited torso, complete with head and Google Glass on nose, in the shower.

Though some would have been moved to paroxysms of excitement at this sight, others would have had their prejudice confirmed that wearing Google Glass made you look like something of an alien. And not in the sense that Ted Cruz might mean.

I tend to side with those who believe that the nerds have lost their marbles with this notion. I feel sure this is why Google is rumored to be discussing Google Glass design with retro spectacle designers Warby Parker.

This is merely an instinctive human reaction. But a more intellectual reasoning for the potential rejection of Google Glass by what's left of normal society was offered by David Galbraith.

The Scottish co-founder of Yelp suggested that it is the very futuristic look of Google Glass that might be its downfall.

In a far-sighted and rear-sighted analysis at Medium.com, he offered that the things people find fashionable all have their roots in the past.

Suits are 18th century hunting wear. Jeans are so 19th century. And those painfully ugly chinos and Oxford shirts hail from Yale students before the world started fighting in the 20th century.

If only they could go back there.

"Looking futuristic is cool if you are a spaceman but not for hanging out in Williamsburg," he wrote.

That, of course, explains the proliferation of terribly expensive vintage clothing stores there.

Galbraith went on to explain that Apple's very popular designs have their roots in post-war Germany.

He likened Google Glass to the Bluetooth headset.

I don't know about you, but every time I see someone wearing a Bluetooth headset I want to quietly walk up to them and then scream very loudly in their ear for them to stop.

There's something so very inhuman about these things, as if by wearing them, the user is giving up some of their body to technology, ceding a little of their humanity to machine life.

Once technology becomes an appendage, it's breaking with style and siding with the weird and not so wonderful.

As Galbraith put it: "Tech influencers are very important for Internet services or a device such as the iPhone, but for things we wear, the things which tend to be based on the past, futurists with no particular requirement for fashion sensibility are not necessarily the best predictors of success."

A loose translation might suggest that nerds have never had style and the minute they try and make their gadgets a fashion accessory to be worn, rather than carried, this lack of style beams like a large cheek-zit on a very cold day.

Though some, like Scoble, might express spectacular tumescence over the idea of Google Glass, its success or failure might rest in its becoming less -- rather than more -- futuristic in its look and feel.

We might all like to say we're cool and liberal, but at heart we're so very staid and conservative.

Yes, we're all Newt Gingrich. Who, it so happens, will be one of the first to possess Google Glass.

We all look forward to his shower photo.