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Google Glass: My First Few Days

I've now had Google Glass for almost exactly 3 days. Not enough time for a really worthwhile review, but I can at least give some first impressions.

How I Got It

Back in December, I found out that one of my friends got Glass. I was jealous. We chatted for a bit about it, and I then started really thinking about Glass. I finally put in for the Glass Explorer Program at the beginning of 2014. About 3 weeks later, I got my invite. As a big coincidence (or maybe not), I got my invite on the day my year end bonus got paid out.

It still wasn't a done deal at this point, I had my doubts. $1500 is a lot of money for an unproved product that I'm not really sure how I'll use. But what put me over was the 30 day trial. This way I would be able to try it out and see if it works for me.

My main uses cases were pretty straight forward:

  • Strava app for bicycling
  • Some way to put text in front of my when I need my hands free (cooking, etc.)
  • Capturing those moments with my son that would be hard with one hand holding the phone

The Struggles

I'll be honest. Glass is beta hardware. Even calling it beta might be generous. Reference platform maybe? In any case, I Was prepared for some rough edges and a learning curve. As of day 3, it's been a struggle.

Physical

I haven't worn glasses in over 8 years, since I got my eyes lasered. My nose and ears are still trying to get used to having this weight on them (they get sore!).

I'm also struggling to get used to actually wearing the darn things. The screen is constantly hovering above you right eye. Outside you normal vision, but right outside (so you can easily glance at it). I've been working everytime I put them on to get this placement right. Too low and you spend a lot of time looking through the screen. Too high and you can't see the screen, it's either blurry or not all of it.

Social

For me, this is the most interesting part. How does wearing Glass affect how I interact with people, and how they interact with me?

First off, it's really hard to ignore the fact that you have a computer attached to your forehead. Makes me very self concious. Kinda like when I switched back to glasses after wearing contacts for 10 years.

I'm still not sure when I should wear Glass and when I should take it off. So far, family dinner is a "no Glass" time. I don't want that extra screen in between me and my family. This is inline with "no cell phone at dinner", I don't want the possible interruptions.

How about at drinks with friends? Or just sitting down and chatting? I'm kinda torn in these cases. It feels a little rude and disconnected to have this device between me, but on the other hand, if I take it off, what was the point in putting it on in the first place?

It's important to note that Glass is pretty unintrusive. The screen only comes on when you ask it to, either by touching the side of your head, or by making an awkward head nodding motion. In either case, everyone around you knows you're checking Glass.

I think these kinds of questions are part of the reason Google is keeping things exclusive. We (as a society) need to figure out the right way wearables change how we interact with each other, and figure out what's rude and what's acceptible. I don't have it figured out yet, and probably won't have it figured out by the end of the 30 days either. But it's very interesting to think about. Let me know if you have any ideas on this as well.

Hardware

The battery life isn't that great. So far, I've gotten it to last until about 5. I'm still trying to figure out the best strategy to extend my battery life. In general, I think I need to turn it off if I plan on taking it off for an hour or more, I don't think the "suspend" mode saves enough power.

I also think the processor is a little under-powered. It feels a touch sluggish at times, especially when rendering web pages.

Also not 100% happy with Wifi performance. I seem to have a few dead spots in my house, where all my other devices work just fine. Probably had to sacrifice this to get the smaller form factor (smaller antenna).

Closing

I've only had it for 3 days. I've worn it around the house (where everyone already knows I weird), at the office (where wearing Glass isn't that unusual), and out once or twice. But not out on the street or to Targe or anything like that. I need to work up the confidence first.

So, will I keep it? Only time can tell. I'm 100% convinced that it's impossible for Glass to live up to it's pricetag. I've been viewing part of it's pricetag is the exclusivity, which is priceless. My friend put it the best:

It's also pretty cool to be one of the only people in the world with it - it's how i felt w/ my gmail addr initially ;)

More Glass reports coming. Stay tuned!

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Bill Napier

Bill Napier

Technologist, Gadget Lover, Father. Doing full time work at Google and part time work on everything else.