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The Digital Skeptic: Get Ready for a Google Glass Crash

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Chas Edwards thinks that what will keep Google (GOOG) Glass from shattering will be exactly one thing: the advertising.

"We have trained a generation of people to believe that Web advertising is #$%^," Edwards told me a few weeks ago.

Edwards is not any old pissed-off Web consumer. Rather, he's a San Francisco-based new-media sales and marketing exec who has done serious time at CNET, been publisher at the New York-based social media service Digg and co-founded blog syndicator Federated Media.

Edwards is deeply worried that Google's slick, soon-to-market, wearable immersive computer, Google Glass, is on track to be Web Advertising 3.0. That is, just another in a long line of Internet marketing disasters.

"With Google Glass, users will be able to touch data," he explains. "But unless Google figures out how to make the ads that run in that world something consumers want to touch, Glass is going to be looking at big, big problems."

Edwards points out -- totally correctly, by the way -- that just as in the mobile device and Web worlds before it, how advertising integrates into the wearable computer experience is not being properly thought out.

He was not surprised when I told him a Google executive told me his company develops products first, then figures out the business model. Or that reports confirm that, at least to start, there will be no traditional advertising on Google Glass, as found on YouTube or the rest of the Internet.

In fact, Edwards says, it's an open secret in the emerging ad community that Google half expects others to solve its Google Glass advertising problems for it.

"We need to figure out how to make a digital experience on Glass that's not an ad," Raymond Velez, chief technology officer at New York digital agency Razorfish, told AdAge back in May.

Edwards argues that even sophisticated media companies such as The New York Times (NYT) struggle to make ads work properly on the Internet we already have -- never mind sophisticated new products such as Glass.

"That is not just Google," Edwards says. "It's the entire Web." He believes that our great advertising minds have not dedicated themselves to solving the basic problems of marketing on the Internet.

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