Snapholes: this is the phrase that came to mind…
..On reading Snapchat’s announcement about their new Spectacles. Yep, Snapholes. In addition, Snaphole-in-chief, Evan Spiegel has rebranded the company as Snap. The company is now defined as, “a camera company”.
We all remember Google Glass, right?
Google Glass were the pioneers of wearable glasses with photographic (and AR) capability but it was invasive, obtrusive and left one with the uncomfortable sensation that you were interacting with the Borg v1.0.
Glass became a kind of exclusive club to the point that they earned the tag Glassholes. No explanation necessary. Ultimately Google decided that Glass was not ready for mainstream consumer purchase and decided to pull the AR / photographic wearable. Rumors abound of a replacement product that integrates all the lessons learned.
Meanwhile Snapchat, who have steadfastly done their own thing launch sunglasses that take video and upload it to Snapchat wirelessly (wifi or Bluetooth depending on OS).
Snapchat who have never implemented usability / UX features that would have killed lesser apps, have pivoted into an advertising platform with some kind of limited API.
Snapchat who have blocked all 3rd party development after some unfortunate security breaches. Locking down their platform to 3rd party development instead of creating actual, robust security.
Somehow Evan Spiegel and Snapchat can do no wrong.
The Warptest POV
Are Snapchat marching down the same path to failure as Glass? Will Snapholes become the tag du jour for all those wearing Snap Spectacles? Most important, how will you feel the first time someone is wearing these in your proximity? How invasive can Snapchat get without workplaces, public and private venues banning these? Will some bright spark come up with a way of obfuscating faces video’s by Snap?
Snapchat has been pretty bulletproof until now and to be fair, the funky looking Spectacles are less intrusive looking than Google Glass ever was. The Spectacles video in a 115-degree view at the tap of a finger with a light indicating to those around the wearer they are being filmed.
At the end of the day these glasses do one thing and camouflage that very well, disguised as sunglasses. This maybe the one thing Google never really grasped with Glass. Whilst AR / photo-enabled glasses are cool and cutting edge you don’t need to create an environment where the very tool you are promoting creates unease and becomes a barrier between the user and those around them.
So, what do you think? Snapholes or not? Is one of you tinkering away at their keyboard with some kind of malware injection activated by video capture in the works or are you just stopping at the toy store for a fake mustache to wear when you see the Snapholes coming?