Its been more than 8 months since I’ve signed up for the Google Glass waiting list on their website. Finally after a long wait I got lucky while I was in New York a month ago and got my invite. I was really excited when I got their email saying that I can now purchase Google Glass. As you may understand I’ve instantly proceeded with the purchase, choose the colour and date to pick them up from Google Studio in Chelsea Market.
They are extremely lightweight and flexible so you don’t have to worry about getting tired wearing them all day long. It feels like wearing the future. You turn Glass on by tilting your head up, or tapping the side of the frame. This activates the tiny screen. It then just shows the time, and the phrase “OK Glass”, which seems to float about six inches in front of the right of your face.
Say “OK Glass”, or tap the side again, and you get a menu – options such as “Google … “, “take a picture”, “record a video”, “get directions to … “, “send a message to … “, “make a call to … “, “hang out with … ” – the latter being a shared video feed. All require a smartphone connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to function. Otherwise Glass is just a fancy camera.
The menu is too long to fit onto the screen, so you have to learn to tilt your head up or down to see the others (though after time you’d remember them). You then say aloud what you want: “Get directions to the nearest Starbucks”, or “Google ‘how high is the Empire State Building”. The results are read back to you by a microphone just beside your ear using bone conduction, so it’s almost inaudible to outsiders. Of course, you won’t have been inaudible. By this stage you’ve already given your instructions to the crowded train carriage. You’re also wearing something that makes you look like something from Star Trek’s Borg, with no lenses. Normal people don’t do this. If you were worried about what people think of you using this technology, you might not have left the house.
Taking pictures and videos is easy. You don’t even have to say: “OK Glass, take a picture”. You can just press a button on the top of the sidepiece, or hold it down for video. There’s no warning to anyone around you that you’re doing so, no red light, no audible click. That seems like a potential privacy concern, and very different from the situation that has pertained ever since mobile phones became camera phones.
The best use for Glass is for maps. You don’t have to pull your smartphone out of your pocket when you’re walking around somewhere unfamiliar. All you do is ask for directions, and it updates the display. There are a few apps (around 25+) that you can install from your iPhone or Android phone including, Facebook, Twitter, the new york times, recipes, weather, google now, gmail etc. You can also enable the Developer mode and install apps from the web with a bit of coding, so far I’ve found Wemo app to be interesting since it lets you control the lights at your home with a simple voice command “Ok Glass” “Wemo” “Turn on Living Room Lamp”
The challenge is going to be price and functionality. As we saw with 3D HDTVs you have to have a killer pitch to convince a customer to strap something onto their face. And, it’ll need to be priced like a smartwatch. If an eventual iWatch hits at $349, Glass will need to be immediately, obviously, and unarguably superior in the functionality department to stand a chance.
Google’s biggest issue with Glass today is that I have no good answer to why anyone should buy one. Most peopleI prefer traveling with as few things as possible, so the company still has some persuading as to why Glass should make the carry-on cut. I have to admit though that its a great investment if you are into technology.
Lastly, we have been developing our android app for the past months and since we have Google Glass now we’ll also focus on building a app for the gadget flow. We’ll publish articles every month as we go deeper into GG, until then, stay tuned!