Queer Your Tech With Fun: Google Glass Means You Wear A Computer on Your Eyes

Welcome to the seventeenth installment of Queer Your Tech with Fun, Autostraddle’s nerdy new tech column. Not everything we cover will be queer per se, but it will be about customizing this awesome technology you’ve got. Having it our way, expressing our appy selves just like we do with our identities. Here we can talk about anything from app recommendations to choosing a wireless printer to web sites you have to favorite to any other fun shit we can do with technology.

Header by Rory Midhani



I have no idea whether to be thrilled or terrified about the prospect of Google Glass.


Google Glass is just that – a pair of glasses. But instead of having sunglass lenses or prescription lenses, they’ve got a computer instead. This means you can do things like take pictures or video, totally hands-free. Or see directions directly in front of you. You can even do Google+ hangouts and share what you’re looking at with your group of friends (can you say A-Camp hangouts, people?). You can also do my favorite Google activity: you can ask it questions and it will tell you the answers.

They’re doing this thing where they’re kinda Beta testing the hardware, which means you can actually get Google Glass. According to the website:

We’re looking for bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass. We’d love to make everyone an Explorer, but we’re starting off a bit smaller. We’re still in the early stages, and while we can’t promise everything will be perfect, we can promise it will be exciting.

So basically, they’re choosing people to test it out. And since all you readers are “bold, creative individuals,” I figured I’d let you know how you can apply.

Using Google+ or Twitter, tell us what you would do if you had Glass, starting with the hashtag #ifihadglass.

  • Your application must be 50 words or less
  • You must include #ifihadglass in your application
  • You can include up to 5 photos with your application
  • You can include a short video (15 secs max)
  • Be sure to follow us on Google+ (+ProjectGlass) or Twitter (@projectglass) so that we can contact you directly
  • You must be at least 18 years old and live in the U.S. to apply

To the chosen few, the Glass still isn’t free. It’s $1,500 pre-tax, which is about the cost of a high-end computer. If you get it, would you please let the rest of us Google+ Hangout on your eyes? Preferably while doing something cool like flying trapeze? You also have to be able to attend a special pick-up event in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. Your deadline is February 27th.

There’s been a lot of discussion about Google Glass – in particular, the conversation has turned to fashion. Will anyone actually wear Google Glass when, to be honest, most people think they look kinda silly? I actually think they’re quite chic, and quite queer in terms of style. Yeah, I’d wear those suckers. But I’m also interested in having a different conversation surrounding this piece of equipment. Namely, a discussion about how much computer is too much computer.

So basically, I have two feelings when I think about using Google Glass. I could either be:


I can’t decide which. I love gadgets. I want to try these so, so much, but at the same time, is this the path to total Facebook integration? Is it not enough having everything at our fingertips on our smartphones? Is it not enough to experience life without trying to post it to something online? Are we seeing the beginnings of:

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


      • i haven’t actually read feed but i read about it in an article about the hunger games and why the YA genre loves dystopian futures and that article made me really WANT to read it. now i think i finally will!

  1. The only compelling thing about this, for me, is the extreme sports angle. When I looked at the application questions and thought what I’d actually do with it, I couldn’t think of anything. As a high quality video camera with sharing capabilities, it’s understandably way pricey compared to things like GoPro cameras with built-in wifi, because it has so much more functionality, but I can’t imagine needing directions in my eyeballs or a video call that can see what I see, but doesn’t show my face.

    I was the person who said, “I don’t need a camera in my phone” well into the last decade so maybe I’m not the best person to comment, but I don’t see a gap in the market. I’m sure it’ll do well though, because really, how many people need a smart phone and a tablet and a laptop and a desktop and a games console and a smart TV? But we still buy them.

  2. I’m* quite excited for this. I just hope I can add it onto my preexisting glasses without issue.

    *huge Google fangirl

    • Ah and I wanted to add:
      Just think of what this will be someday. It could be your phone. Google Nav displayed in real life! I would get it for that alone! Minus not needing to carry a phone around all the time. I wonder how the studies of cellular phone usage near a human brain are going…

  3. Aha! I saw someone on BART the other day wearing one of these and I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what it was.

  4. Honestly? These scare me.

    I love my computer. I had a smartphone for several months and was fond of it, too. But computer screens on my glasses?

    I wear prescription glasses. I doubt the Google Glass is compatible with them at this point — but if it’s any kind of a success, it will be, someday. I wear my glasses ALL THE TIME. And I think that’s kind of the point: the Glass is a computer that can be worn all the time. That would be useful in some ways, but… it would be distracting. I don’t want any gadget that might interfere with my interactions with real live humans.

  5. These terrify me! But the potential is just astounding and really exciting. I don’t know if they would be that necessary in my everyday life, but when I was lost in downtown Hiroshima at 11 o’clock at night without a map or any knowledge of Japanese, this would have been incredibly helpful. I think for purposes of world travel, there could be nothing better.
    But it IS very much like the Cybus Industries bluetooth and that scares the shit out of me because I really like my humanity.

  6. i hate this. like cool technology, but i think it sucks we are getting to a point where we can’t be anywhere in the world and disconnected.

  7. I honestly can’t understand why people are so freaked out about this. It’s not being integrated into your body, it’s just something to wear. That means you can take it off. Even if you wear glasses.
    1) if it’s something that just clips onto your glasses, you can take it off and put it in your pocket.
    2) Even if it’s built into the glasses, no one is going to make you hand in your old ones when you get this, so you’ll still have the option of taking it off and putting on you old ones.
    If you want to spend your time worrying about hypothetical future people who will be able to afford a pair of these, but not a non-tech backup version, I guess that’s up to you :P

    • I think for me what sucks about cool technology is that inevitably businesses always find a way to use it to make people work more. I understand that money makes the world go around. But the capitalism in society, especially in developed countries, is a bit much.

      Like look at the cellphone. It’s truly a bloody brilliant invention. It allows us to keep in touch with friends and family when out. Of course though, in business, many companies quickly started giving employees a cellphone so that the employee has no excuse for not answering a call when out. Same with smartphones. Fracking lovely that I can check my email on the go. But then companies now expect me to be connected all the time and to respond to everything in “a timely manner”. By that they mean immediately or within a couple hours, even on the weekend.

      Dunno if I made any sense up above. But my underachieving, lazy arse doesn’t like working more than I need to and I don’t like the “live to work” or work-work-work mentality that exists in corporate culture in the US. It’s like, what’s really happened to quality time if you’re on vacation but have to be “check in” to the office?

      So I understand a little freaking out because it means that, while the technology is cooler than cool, Lord knows what uses companies will come up with for it and I worry about how much their uses for it it will eat into more of our personal time away from work.

      At least, that’s my take on it.


  8. I am so damn excited about this becoming a reality. I would definitely buy one the moment it came out!

  9. I love the idea of them and the videos look amazing so I would totally love to play around with them. I don’t know how much I would use them in day to day activities but I love the photo and video possibilities and having the navigation right there. And I would like to see how they might make them compatible with prescription glasses and sunglasses.

  10. At first I thought this was super weird but then in one of the articles that someone linked to above they mentioned how the goal was to make people more connected to life because instead of staring down at your phone you’re able to get your technology fix right there in your line of sight. This to me makes it cool and really interesting. If there really is a way to fulfill our constant urge for connectedness without taking away from real life, then i’m in.

  11. This made me think of the Eye Phone episode on Futurama. I mean, it’s cool that we can actually have sci-fi technology now, but I don’t know how practical it’ll be for every day life. That being said, if I were athletic or a frequent world-traveller, this would be amazing to have.

  12. OMG it’s the future. Does anyone think maybe we’re becoming a little too obsessed with recording ourselves?

  13. do you really have to say, “Ok, Glass!” every time you want it to do something?

    Also i feel like devoting our attention to a screen in our field of vision is going to mean sacrificing our attention in other areas ie. not listening to someone talking to you in front of your face, bumping into a pole etc.

  14. I have mixed emotions about this. I wish so often that I could snap a photo with my eyes but it does seem a like a step towards the toaster cyborg situation.

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