Not too long ago I received a coveted notification from Google to inform me of my opportunity to join the “Glass Explorers” program. It’s a cool opportunity, but by no means is it like rolling in with a rock star pass. Nope, instead you get to buy the Google Glass, approx, $1,500.00, and then go to one of three locations to pick them up (you pay your own travel). So I chose the greatest location, because of the city it was in, Chelsea Market in New York City. So the family and I drove up and stayed two evenings at the Jade Hotel in Greenwich Village and enjoyed a lot of what NYC has to offer. But none of this is really important, what follows next is the crux of this whole post.
I arrived a little before 2pm, on July 3rd, for my pick-up. As I was directed up to the 8th floor I soon realized there were a handful of folks getting setup with Glass. The Google staff were really great and even let my sons come in and check it all out.
The first 20 minutes were discussing how the gestures work on the device, as well as voice controls. On top of that we did a “fitting” session to make sure everything was fitting correctly. Once we were good to go on that front it was time for the first test drive. Michelle was my Google “Guide” through this process and she was very patient in answering all of my geek level questions. She walked me through filming videos and taking photos, and how to share the data. We also used a little voice activated Google translation (saying hello in Japanese, and good-bye in Italian). After all that, approx. 1.5 hours I was turned loose to run the streets of Manhattan with this cyborg thing attached to my head.
Quick Notes (more details below):
Actually rather comfortable to wear and not as obtrusive as you might think.
The teathering to your phone via bluetooth is easy as can be. Along with using your phone as a hotspot when not connected to Wifi. Pretty killer and simple.
Really nice picture and video quality.
Comes with some clear and dark lenses to flip in so they look more like sunglasses ( I recommend this option)
Navigation only works if you have an Android phone as they are trying to get their app in the Apple store. Really want to use that as I tethered up to Michelle’s and it was sick.
Great voice controls, takes a second to get used to it but its far better than the voice commands on an Xbox. You tell it what to do and it does it. You don’t have to shout, however the potential for people will look at you strangely for talking to your self is definitely there.
The other, main controls, are the swipes and taps. All very familiar to anyone using a Macbook or a smartphone of some type, no there is no “pinch zoom.”
Yes, the first time you see the screen and interact with the device you have a “holy shit!” moment. No way around it. Think about the first Terminator movie when Arnold scrolls through witty insults, now think crisper and cleaner!
The audio is really slick, it is not a speaker but rather a little nodule that sits on your skull above the ear and send the vibrations of sound into your inner ear. This is some SERIOUS black-ops, wanna be Navy Seal, out of the movies tech. Freaking awesome sound quality and no one around me can hear it. So yes, you will have voices in your head, but they are the good ones.
So you are wearing this device that is super powerful and has people freaked out over privacy. Well, it’s not what they, or you think, but keep them chilled out. I wear them on my head or around my neck when I am entering super crowded areas or areas that people would freak out if someone was taking pictures with their phones. This thing takes pictures, it does video. But the video is only 10seconds long with some audio, and if the person wants to film longer they have to hold the button down on their temple, pretty damn obvious.
Part 1 Wrap-up
Yes, my wife thought they looked dorky, and yeah there is a dork factor, however the kids thought they were cool. She soon got used to them and didn’t notice. But here is the kicker, I wore these around for a day and a half in NYC. Most people did not even notice, however the ones that did were amped up and super excited. Pointing and yells of “oh damn thats that glass stuff cuz” were common. Even the folks at the AT&T store dug them as they got to try them out.
Yes they look crazy, but in NYC it drew attention and it drew attention in a “when can I get those yo?” kind of way. Now I am traveling into CNY, and then Raleigh NC, which is a whole other story in of itself.
I will keep posting as I learn more, and as I get a few apps up and running. So far, it is pretty amazing, havent been this amazed with technology like this since 2008
Next post will cover more of the specific UX uses, challenges, and overall feels.