Google Glass: my early impressions

I have one now and I wish to thank whoever it is that offered me the invitation to buy.  It is a privilege to have an early chance to preview and try out what may well prove to be a major technological advance.

That said, I still don’t find this to be a useful device.  Here are my difficulties, many of which are specific to me:

1. Right now it’s only for people who see well.  I kept on wanting to put on my (non-Google) glasses to view things through Google Glass.  That doesn’t work.  I also find it involves eyestrain and discomfort to look up into that upper right corner.  That’s probably my defect rather than Google’s, but in contrast I know I am high quality enough to use their search engine and probably their driverless car as well.  (Gmail remains a toss-up but I fear I am failing at it, even though I use it only for storage.)

2. I would do better if the small screen were above the left eye rather than the right.

3. It works through wireless, which means either a) I can use it at home which is exactly where I don’t need it, or b) I can carry around a WiFi device, which indeed I do have, but at some point it all stops being so easy, and furthermore there are then two battery lives to worry about (4-5 hours for Glass, I am told by various sources), two things I need to turn on and off, and higher carrying costs.  There is by the way a Bluetooth method for running them through (some) smart phones, I am not sure at what difficulty or expense.

4. I tried to prime its connection to two wireless systems (home, and the mobile WiFi device) and each time I required the services of the help desk.  I wouldn’t call it buggy, but it doesn’t have the seamless, intuitive ease of use that we are growing to expect from new devices.

5. Glass is comfortable enough to wear, but when you take it off there is no easy and safe way to fold it up and put it away safely.  It’s non-wear carrying costs appear to exceed its liquidity premium.

6. The timeline seems to get crowded — but with what? — and getting out of the timeline and into other functions is not intuitive.  In general the shifting around across functions involves awkwardness.  There is the tap, the multiple tap, the forward and backward finger slides, and movements of your head, all of which need to be somewhat learned and coordinated.

7. Perhaps my biggest worry is that my iPad does most of what Glass is supposed to do, at least as far as I can tell.  I find that my carrying costs for the iPad are quite low, especially since I am usually carrying around a bag of books anyway.  When using Glass, I feel I first have had to grab an iPad, shrink it a good amount so I can no longer easily view it, tape it to my upper right forehead, and start tapping on it and sliding it instead of using the keyboard.

8. I do understand the “hands-free” point, but it does not benefit me much.  I wouldn’t use Glass when driving, don’t need it when cooking, and don’t wish to take photos when doing that other thing.

The pluses are that the voice recognition seems to work pretty well and the photos and video are decent quality, on top of the remarkable fact that the device is possible at all.  Wearing the Glass is extremely light and relatively comfortable.  The help line is open on Christmas day and involves no wait time at all.  It’s remarkable, when you first open the device, how little there is to the whole thing.  You keep on thinking “so where’s the rest of it?” and there is no more, a small band encased in light plastic performs all of these remarkable functions and Glass brings us yet one step closer to a future world of pure seamless magic, albeit a magic for acrobatic eyes only.

I still feel Google Glass has remarkable potential, but for me it is not yet something I wish to use rather than analyze.

Here is one useful review, more positive than my account, and here is another review.


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