Google Glass – A Brief Review

Google Glass Explorer. Glasshole. Michael.

Google Glass in its boxCall me whatever you’d like, but I just got done living with Google Glass for about three weeks, and I have a few thoughts to share. (Why only three weeks? That mess is $1500… so I just played with it while still within the window to return it, and I have now sent it back for a refund.)

Overall impression: WOW. The UI, the UX, just the overall usability of it is actually pretty stunning. They’ve really spent a lot of time refining the experience of wearing and using Glass, and it shows. We’ve all seen the videos online that show how it’s supposed to work, but when you put it on and find that it actually works as well as the videos show, that’s something.

Coolest feature today: Translate This. Really the only augmented reality app so far, the Translate app takes whatever you’re looking at, translates it, and replaces it on-screen with the new text, in a font and color that closely match the original. It’s a bit sluggish and finicky, but it’s so impressive when it works. And yes, I said replaces — it’s not a subtitle, it completely deletes the original word from the live-view image and replaces it with the translated word. Too cool.

Weirdest feature today: Winking to take a picture. I mean, neat… but seriously? #creeperalert

Wearing Glass at Starbucks
What it looks like to wear Glass at Starbucks

Social impact: Let’s get one thing straight — people still look at you like you’re a weirdo when you go anywhere in public wearing Glass. I would expect nothing less. Will this reaction decrease over time? I believe so. I made it my goal while wearing it to educate people and help them understand 1) no, I’m not always recording or taking a picture of you, 2) the screen’s not even on most of the time, and 3) if I walk into a wall please just point me in the right direction.

(I didn’t actually walk into any walls… but at one point at work I was walking toward a closed door, doing something on Glass, when I realized I had stopped walking altogether, right in front of the door, to finish what I was doing before opening the door. Yep, I was the guy standing 8 inches in front of a closed door, seemingly just staring at it, unsure of what to do next.)

A quick video shot through Glass while on a run.

The future. Spending time with Glass really made me believe in the future even more than I do already. It’s coming, and it’ll be augmented with wearable devices of one sort of another. Maybe it’s Glass or a derivative, maybe it’s an iWatch, maybe it’s an implant (this can’t come soon enough!). But there were definitely times that the accessibility to information and the immediacy with which I was notified about (and could respond to) emails and texts were so handy, especially while multi-tasking (driving, walking while carrying things, etc.).

I’ll close with the requisite image of me wearing Glass. Feel free to save it for blackmail as needed.

Me wearing Glass
You’re welcome

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