business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Ad Week reports on the results of a survey by the Toluna marketing research firm suggesting that "privacy worries are a major stumbling block for Google Glass, with two in five consumers citing concerns such as the potential for hackers to access private data, the ease with which others could record their actions without their knowledge and the potential for private actions to become public."

The second major concern "cited by a majority of Toluna’s survey respondents was distractibility," the story says. "The dangers of driving and texting are well-known. Less reported are the injuries and embarrassments sustained through text walking, resulting either from stepping blindly into a roadway, being a participant in a head-on pedestrian sidewalk collision or sundry other semi-blind missteps. Over a third of the 1,000 consumers specifically cited concerns about being mugged while wearing the device."

I don't find this particularly surprising … and I also don't think that these concerns will end up being major inhibitors to the development of Google Glass or other forms of wearable technology.

To begin with, if two of five consumers are concerned about privacy issues, that means that three of five don't feel the same way … which means that the concerned 40 percent may really have something to worry about. The same goes for the more than 33 percent worried about distractibility … there is another two thirds out there that could be using such products and, yes, getting distracted.

I also think that we're still early in the development process for wearable tech … and I tend to think that this stuff tends to be a lot more acceptable a lot faster than one might think. That doesn't mean that privacy and distractibility concerns aren't legitimate, just that when it comes to technological progress, people tend to get past these issues. (For better or worse.)

Besides, never underestimate the impact of commercial concerns on these technological advances. The reason that Ad Week is reporting this story is because advertising firms and their clients all see ways in which they'll be able to use wearable tech to reach consumers. It's all about money … and money is a powerful motivator.

There's no way to know exactly how wearable tech will develop, nor how fast. But it is a pretty good bet that its development and acceptability are inevitable.
KC's View: