24 Hours with Google Glass

For a long time, like most nerds, I’ve been curious about Google Glass. My wife had me convinced she bought me a pair as a wedding present (it turned out to be an awesome framed picture of Hemingway that we saw on our first trip together in Key West).

So when my friend Parva Thakkar (https://twitter.com/pthakkar9 and google.com/+ParvaThakkar9) purchased Google Glass, I was excited. I figured he’d bring them to work and I’d get to try them on and see what the fuss was about. I was blown away that he was gracious enough to let me borrow them for a full 24 hours. He even did a factory reset so I would have the pure Google Glass experience.

20140130_110223
(Me wearing the Google Glasses)

After a day with Glass, below are some of the hits and misses.

Hits

Navigation – Driving the car with Glass was really cool. It knew where I was going before I left thanks to Google Now. Google Glass doesn’t have GPS built in so it piggybacked off the GPS on my phone. It was as simple as telling Glass to navigate home and I was on my way. I wore the glasses while driving. In order not to be a distraction, the screen turns off while the car is moving, but reappears when the driver gets close to turns or tricky intersections. I also had the voice navigation in my ear guiding me on my way. It’s hard to describe, but it worked really well. Definitely a cool feature. In the future, I could see it suggesting real-time detours based on traffic or even providing car information (I wonder what model that Tesla is?).

Reading Emails and Texts – Another cool feature. Anytime I got an email or gChat, Google Glass makes a ding in my ear (it’s important to note that most of the time I was wearing Glass, the screen was off). This happened when I got home from work and was in the middle of changing. There is an easy setting to have Glass read the email to you. I didn’t have to stop what I was doing and Google read the email nearly flawlessly. I could see this being a great feature that would get a lot of use.

Winking to take Pictures – There is a setting to where the User can wink and Glass will automatically take a picture. This was awesome because sometimes things happen and people don’t have time to play with their phone or other settings to capture the moment. A perfect example was when I took the pups off leash a few days ago in the snow. Tobey perched perfectly on top of a hill and looked upward like he was the Lion King. I would have loved to have that picture. Parva mentioned some trouble with this feature where sometimes it takes pictures when the User blinks. I only had this happen once or twice. Below are some of the pictures I took through glass (5 megapixel camera built in).

20140129_170441_104My view walking in the house

20140129_173650_150I wanted to capture an outside shot. Glass delivered.

20140129_213229_917Tobey sleeping next to me

Video – Glass can also take video…. Took a quick shot of Lilers reacting to robot dancing…. Video is limited to 10 seconds per video clip, which makes it even more ridiculous that someone was kicked out of a movie theater for copyright concerns with Glass.

Great conversation starter – When I was wearing Glass, I had no less than 4 or 5 complete strangers come talk to me about it.

Misses

Lack of Apps – On the official Google Glass app, there were only a handful of apps available (although I understand this list is growing all the time). Opening this up as a true app store would do wonders. I think this takes away from the overall power of Glass because once the novelty wears down, there are only a handful of great apps.

Music was hard to navigate – Google Music had an app, but using it was clunky at best. I could search for an artist, but once it started playing, it was hard to go back or skip ahead. I think these issues will be ironed out in the future, but seemed like it should have been fairly easy to have working well off the bat.

Talking on the phone was hard – When a phone call would come in, the screen gives the User the option to answer through Glass. I did this when my grandma called. It connected fine, but there was a lack of intuitive volume control. It was also hard to hear and difficult to hear the User.

Hard to navigate – When I first started using glass, there was definitely a learning curve in terms of where menus are and how to navigate the menus. I think this can be improved on in future iterations.

Seems unfinished – Overall, this still feels like a beta product. There were a lot of aspects that are only going to improve over time, but at this point, I’m not sure I could justify paying $1500 when there is still a good deal of work that needs to be done for this to be a finished product. I think my price point is around $300, but my co-worker thinks my entry point is closer to $600. He’s probably right.

Final Verdict

Just thinking of all the possibilities of glass are mind boggling. Think about watching a football game and see the names of all the players on the field or real-time stats. Think about an insurance adjuster having a checklist at his disposal or certain issues with various makes and models. Think about in the medical field, having all patient data without having to look away from the patient. Or real-time vital information. Or a firefighter viewing a floor-plan on the way to a fire…. It’s thoughts like these that have me incredibly hopeful for the future of Google Glass and I look forward to future iterations and the day when I have my own pair.

If you have any thoughts or questions on Google Glass, feel free to drop a note in the comment box below.

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