And the market for Google Glass is limited. Aside from the price tag of $1,500 for a pair of "Explorer" Google Glasses offered during the pilot period, there is an issue of actual usability. (According to CNET, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said at a recent TED Talk that the Google Glasses would be available for less than $1,500 when they launch but did not give a price estimate.)
Let's face it. You can't wear Google Glasses driving -- even if you can right now, ordinances would soon be in place to prevent it -- and you may not even be able to wear them socially. Some pubs, like The 5 Point Cafe in Seattle, are making pre-emptive rules against the use of Google Glass in the establishment, ensuring scenes like this one recently captured on Instagram during the SXSW is not the trend. The Seattle dive bar will surely not be the only one.
The 5 Point says on its website: "If you're one of the few who are planning on going out and spending your savings on Google Glasses -- what will for sure be a new fad for the fanny-pack-wearing, never-removing-your-bluetooth-headset-wearing crowd -- plan on removing them before you enter The 5 Point. The 5 Point is officially a No Google Glass zone."
Sure, that could be a publicity stunt, but it could also just as likely be the start of an anti-Google Glass trend. And if tech-heavy Seattle turns its back, at what point does having Google Glasses simply become "uncool"? Seattle may not be the trend-setting city it once was, but it set the standard once before, so it can happen again.Then there are the privacy issues. Google Glasses could record everything you see -- from a risque moment with a significant other to your credit card number when you buy a cup of coffee. As far back as September, The Next Web identified issues such as eye-tracking, aggressive advertising and misidentification. According to New Scientist, there is even a Google Glass app that identifies friends by their clothing, or "fashion fingerprints." I am sure Google understands these issues -- maybe this could even be why Noah Zerkin was able to take the now-famous candid picture of co-founder Sergey Brin riding the New York subway wearing a pair of Google Glasses. After all, with this many sightings, Google Glass is clearly past the prototype stages and a first run in production, yet the glasses haven't been released to the public yet. And there is no release date, only a rash of rumors -- Mashable is reporting that Google will offer a prescription-lense option, and TechCrunch covered the series of app integrations Google Glass will offer, from Gmail to Evernote to the New York Times. Expect Google to continue to try to make its Google Glass seem cool, sexy and exclusive through publicity stunts like its pilot program, but I highly doubt the device will catch on. The price is simply too high and the types of issues the device could cause are simply too great. I still expect Google to do well, but I highly doubt the company will see the huge gains realized in the past year. Going forward, the company is much more likely to post more moderate returns. I am bullish about Google, but I wouldn't buy in until the company dips under $750 and I would expect to hold the position at least two to three years to get the most bang for your buck. -- Written by Renee Butler in New York.
At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @ReneeAnnButler This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.