Each year fashion week consists of one designer trying to “wow” and surprise the press above any other. Well this Fall Fashion week Diane Von Furstenberg stole the show, not only with her clothing, but also with her display of the new Google Glass product on the catwalk. Furstenberg has impressed the fashion world for years, but her partnership with Google took this year’s runway show to the next level.
Furstenberg not only had every model in her show wearing the specs but she also recorded her and the models’ entire fashion week experience through the Google Glass[es]. This footage was then compiled into a short promotional video featuring behind the scene action from the DVF show. Furstenberg is known for always being up to date on the latest social media, but this stunt only proved her to be more of a netizen than before.
The Google Glass product that DVF gracefully debuted has taken wearable technology to the next level. Predicted to be released in 2013 and sold for slightly above $1,000, Google Glass is the phone/computer/ipod/ipad of the future. Essentially the Google Glass is a device that you place on your head with a small projector placed above your eye. The device has all the functions of a phone/computer/ipod/ipad except rather than holding a device in your hand, the bits of information are projected in front of you. The screen can display maps, Skype, texting, pictures, the Internet, apps and even video. It is truly a futuristic device.
In the Washington Post article ‘When Google looked through the looking glass,’Dominic Basulto states that the product most definitely will, “open up a whole new range of possibilities for wearable computing.” Basulto predicts that the device, particularly because of its wearability, will soon be domesticated into society. In Nancy Baym’s book, Personal Connections in the Digital Age, she explains that technologies are domesticated when they transition from no longer being “marvelous and strange,” to being “so ordinary as to be invisible” (45 Baym). Domesticated technologies, she describes, “move from being fringe (wild) objects to everyday (tame) objects embedded deeply in the practices of daily life” (45 Baym). For example, phones have been domesticated, as we rarely consider our phones to be anything spectacular but rather see them as an extra limb, a necessity in day to day life.
As Google Glasses don’t have to be held in your hand or stored in your pocket, it will be easy to forget they are even there, allowing them to easily become assumed as a part of life. Walking down the streets of NYC, for example, Basulto paints a picture of the future where, “you are able to check out the details about your latest paramour from Match.com on your new Google Glasses before heading out for dinner and movie” (Basulto). Basulto is primarily positive about the release of this tech-savvy eye wear, but while the Google Glass product will be in fact wearable and very convenient it could also prove to have a negative impact on people, preventing people even more so from having technology free, face to face interactions. How can you truly focus on another person if you have text messages popping up in front of your eyes?
As I am somewhat of a technological determinist, I believe that releasing the Google Glass will have a direct effect on society. In Nancy Baym’s book Personal Connection in the Digital Age she introduces the term technological determinism with Marshall McLuhan’s phrase, “the medium is the message” (26 Baym). Essentially what McLuhan meant by this is that whenever we use technology to receive and send information, we are not only receiving the information intended to be sent but also the “characteristics” of technology (26 Baym). Claude Fischer puts it that technology essentially imprints itself on users (26 McLuhan). Technology changes the way we perceive the information and also changes the way that we act and interact in its presence . I believe the Google Glass will most definitely alter our existing society because it completely changes the way we receive and send information through technology.
With this new increased mobility of the Google Glass (which we place on our heads) we will have even less of an opportunity to get away from our technology. As Nancy Baym explains, the more mobile an object is the more responsibility a person has to respond to messages instantly. Even now with just cell phones we are expected to respond to messages within an hour or it is considered rude. What if messages were popping up on a screen in front of us? Would it become socially unacceptable to respond more than 5 minutes later? Not being able to escape technology will most definitely keep us informed and connected digitally but truly could prevent us from being connected personally, and living present in the moment.
As discussed in Michael Wesch’s “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube” the online community is tight and growing fast growing. In Wesch’s video he discusses how this growth is reflected in the popularity of YouTube sensations. People across the world have seen Charlie Bit Me and bond in this imagined community over how amusing yet adorable this clip is. What effect will the Google Class have on YouTube sensations? Presumably they would gain even more celebrity status. I’m curious to see how the Google Glass will interact not only with YouTube but also with our society overall. Perhaps this device is just what we need to move forward. Maybe this technology will lead to leaps in the world of science, or boost SAT scores by the hundreds because you can study on the go. What do you believe will happen as a result of the Google Glass? Do you think it will have a negative or positive affect on our society? Is this just the start of wearable technology? Let me know your thoughts about this daring futuristic device. Perhaps someday we will look back at this blog post and laugh at a time when we lived without Google Glass.