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My Adventures Into the Prism – A Google Glass Rant

Preface

I was recently chosen by Google to enter their Explorer program for Google Glass. Being as interested about computers as I am I obviously jumped at the chance that Google had given me and dropped the 1500 USD they were asking for the device. I waited anxiously for the next week for the device to arrive to me (It had to be shipped to a US address than shipped internationally otherwise this process would have only been a few days at most). The day the device came I anxiously drove home to unbox the device and put it on. This post will be a recap of what my first week with glass from unboxing till today.

 

Unboxing Day

Day one with glass was like something out of a dream. I took the device out of the sparingly documented box (Think Apple packaging with less manuals), instantly I noticed that the device had no charge and I was going to have to plug it into charge. I checked the chargers voltage and noticed that luckily it was good for 110 and 220V’s this made my life considerably easier as I live in the UK and 220 is the standard voltage. I plugged in the device for about 3 hours before I turned it on for the first time. Turning the device on for the first time is probably similar to what people felt when the first lightbulb was created a moment of what I imagine to be both wonder and awe at how far we’ve come in the past few years. The display shows a friendly boot display that takes about 15 seconds for the device to turn on fully. Once the device switches on fully you’ll be greeted with the time and a simple “ok glass” prompt. I spent a couple of hours just getting familiar with the device and learning how to use it. As someone who has never worn glasses before I can say that at first the device felt very foreign to me. However given enough time and usage it started to feel pretty normal.

 

A Few Weeks of Play

After unboxing day I spent the next few days working Google Glass into my everyday life and trying to see where it really fit in. I’m not allowed to bring it into my work facility which I feel to be one of the larger reasons why I don’t find it to be a truly valuable tool. However that being said some of the places that I found it most useful were when driving, when traveling to a new city that I hadn’t been to before or at simple gatherings such as bbq’s or family/friend meetups. When driving glass seems like a great tool to allow for navigation, due to Google Maps turn by turn integration it’s a great way to have a hands free navigation system that doesn’t really distract you from the road at all like some built in GPS’s can. When traveling to a new city glass is a great tool (if only it had better battery life) it allows for you to snap photo’s quickly, get directions very quickly also as well as look up local restaurants and places that you should check out. Lastly once your friends/family get over the fact that you’re wearing glass it allows for some really great on the fly pictures that truly capture the moment unlike a camera can. After a few weeks of play it doesn’t really seem like glass is a tool yet though more of a glorified camera or a tool that becomes difficult to integrate into your life at this point. I wish I could say we’re all on our way to becoming cyborgs but I really don’t think this is the case yet.

 

A Few Months of Simplicity

So now fast-forward the clock a few months. The novelty of glass has worn off at this point and some major software changes have come out from Google causing Glass to shift it’s place around in my life. With the integration of the glance feature Glass seems more like an augmentation tool that could be used in your work environment to speed up your productivity. The at a a glance feature allows you to check notifications on your Glass such as e-mails or messages without your hands ever touching your face. The Glass OS notifies you with a sound and you glance up at the screen to see your message. This combined with tools like Evernote and some to do lists could actually serve as a  solid usage purpose for Glass. Overall however my glass spends most of the time off of my face for reasons that I will comment on below.

 

Why Dont I Use It?

Google Glass seems like the future and I really do think it could be, but there are some core things holding it back right now that really need to be addressed,

 

  • Appearance – People give you constant looks or want to talk to you about the device. While being an explorer means helping people understand the technology and this is the same with any new technology Glass’s prominent place on your face means you will be constantly asked about it.
  • Public Relations – Google seriously needs to work on the PR there’s been so much negative media coverage about Glass and more recently lack of any coverage that people assume Glass is trying to spy on them due to lack of education. I’ve been asked to remove them more then once in public places by individuals and store owners that allow smartphones and cameras sadly.
  • Battery Life – Google for the love of god please fix the battery issues that Glass has. We really need to have easily 1  – 2 days of battery life off the device for it to be successful. Currently with medium usage my Glass dies in about 5 hours. This is way beyond satisfactory.
  • Software Bugs – The OS software for Glass is beyond buggy still with constant lagging, freezes, etc. It needs quite a bit of work before it is consumer ready.

 

Beyond those things I love glass. Also on a side note as a developer Glass is a cool platform to work on and I think in the future the features included in applications for glass could be out of this world! The fact that it has so many sensors and it’s placement on your head for augmented reality functionality could make Glass a truly unique platform for development. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this device and what plans Google has for it also.

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