Why, what, when, and how I am living in the future? Well, I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to purchase Google Glass. This won’t be a typical review. For one of those, you can read the Engadget review. Below I instead answer questions that have been asked of me since I’ve received them.
What are they like? Amazing. I feel like I’ve transported five years into the future.
What’s the best feature? Impromptu photos and videos in gatherings of friends. Google’s Auto Awesome feature is a close second.
What sucks about it? Battery life. Seriously…it blows. Five to six hours with bluetooth connectivity tethered to your phone. I can eke out 8-12 hours if I use AutomateIt to turn Bluetooth on/off on a two-minute on/eight-minute off schedule. That being said, I’m a nerd; normal consumers won’t do that when it comes out—they’ll just whine that Google Glass sucks because it barely ekes past lunchtime. I imagine most people will have a problem with another gadget that needs charging 2-3 times a day.
Anything surprise you about Glass? The voice recognition. It is amazing and instant.*
Does it get old quick? i.e. once the wow factor wears off, is it useless? Yes…and no. No…and yes. Confused? Me too. Let me explain. I’ve worn them for three weeks weeks now. For the first 2-3 days, I couldn’t take them off and I just had this geeky smile every time I used the voice recognition to take a picture or check a notification by looking up. Then I settled into a routine with them, where I had no desire to take them off.
At the three-week mark I stand upon today, I find it slightly distracting as I’ve come off the high. I don’t think, however, that it is a merely a distraction issue (the screen is transparent so when it is off, I don’t really see or notice it), but an expectation issue. It’s always there, and I don’t interact with it all that much yet…but I want too! Yes, I take photos, videos, get emails from my partner in my field of view, occasionally navigate with it (which is amazing!); but mostly what I do with it is impress people who ask me to use it. Impressing people is fun (and it is an instant ice-breaker), but I need it to do more.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love this thing, but it doesn’t do enough–yet. Google has labelled it as a companion device; i.e., its there when you need it and melts away when you don’t. I think that the only reason for that design choice is the horrendous battery life. This device is meant to be augment reality, however, if it were to do so, the battery would die in 30 minutes; so, they pivoted and made it a companion device that only needs the screen activated for a few seconds every now and then. The unfortunate reality of it is that this is the kind of tech that will truly benefit from being truly augmented reality instead of pretending to be a companion to your phone. I’m supposed to wear it when I’m out and about yet I only truly interact with it for between fifteen minutes and two hours. The problem, however, is that it’s not like I’m not thinking about it the rest of the time. It’s just too difficult to ignore the $1,500 computer on your face. I still haven’t gotten to the point of mundaneness with my smartphone and I’ve had a nine since 2007! So it will take a while before having Glass on my face and not using it for hours at a time will feel normal. Granted, I’ve only had this device for a few weeks; I don’t consider this a negative point, just a downward slope on a complex curve comprising such emotions/reactions as “this is amazing! I’m never taking it off,” to “OK, what else can I do with this?”, and most commonly “OH shit, the battery is down 20% in the last 5 minutes!!!” (The last being the most common.)
What’s your favourite thing to do on it? This one is easy: checking the time, believe it or not. How do you check the time, one might ask? Look up between 20-40 degrees and it just appears in your field of view (FOV) floating, perfectly still against the chaos it is juxtaposed upon. There is something really cool about it that is hard to describe. * – The voice reconigition is amazing and instant until you need to pronounce a weird name.
Anyone else have any questions? I’d love to answer them.