Five days with Google Glass

With Glass

With Glass

As I mentioned in my last post, my Google glass arrived on Monday and I ran into a few problems to start with. I don’t want to color the experience with those day one battery problems, so I decided to wait until today to provide a more detailed description of my experience so far.

I’ve been playing with Glass for 5 days now, and I can see the potential.  The first question that people ask me when they see me wearing glass is, “Is it worth $1,500?”  I can honestly say that for the average consumer the answer is a big no.  But that’s not the point in having it now.  The point in having it now is to explore the possibilities of a beta product.    And in that regard I think the price is fair.  One thing that you have is the option to swap it out once as a developer.  This makes a lot of sense as Google should be quickly advancing the tech, so that when it does become a consumer product you are not stuck with having to buy it again.  This is an amazing deal, and I wish that more product development teams would consider this as a way of saying thank you to the earliest adopters.

A day after I got Glass, a software update was introduced.  This has actually made it somewhat less reliable and it is consuming more battery now.  (Ah, the wonders of beta testing).  There’s been a lot of help offered by the community in trying to address some of these issues.  If you want to get a view into those discussions I highly recommending joining the explorer community over on Google+.  The team of there is helpful and truly engaged.

As I mentioned on my other podcast – – the biggest issue I have right now is that I am using AT&T and am grandfathered in on the unlimited data plan.  To get all of the advantages of Glass, you need to tether it to your cell phone.  In order to enable tethering on my data plan, I will lose my unlimited plan and I use WAY TOO MUCH data to give it up. So all my experience is based on either connecting to a local wifi hot spot, or using the Bluetooth to access some set of capabilities.

The basic capabilities that come with glass are – take a picture, take a video, get email notifications, social interactions with Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and youtube, You get access to your calendar, etc.  One thing that I can’t test is the head up version of a GPS.  Having directions tied nicely to my calendar is a cool service that is enabled via other apps on my cell phone, but seeing it as a drive would be helpful.

One of the big jokes on SNL a year or so ago what the head nod that was used to enable Glass to react.  This is not required, you can touch the side to get it to wake up, instead of the head nod.  The head nod is great for a complete hands free option, however, a simple glance up activates Glass. In a public setting, and with some of the recent stories of people getting upset with glass, I’d rather not have Glass come on unless I want it on.

The interface of Glass, i.e. the Google Now cards, works really well.  It provides you with the data you want at a glance.  It’s clean and clear, and decided to show relevant info at a glance.  You can find the Developer reference here.

I’ve take a ton more pictures this week thanks to Glass, and even posted a few on Google+.  This is funny, because traditionally Google+ has been a location of last resort to me given that their interface tends to be a bit one off from all there other services.  Glass should make Google much more popular for social sharing.

As with all betas things are not working great all around.  I still can’t connect to the WiFi at my favorite Durham Coffee shop – BeanTraders.  While I know I have the network configured correctly (it works with my laptop, my iPad, my iPhone and my Android Tablet), Glass fails to connect.  I also noticed that there are no settings to allow me to connect to my corporate wifi, as it doesn’t appear to support the LEAP protocol.  Given that I can’t tether, this means that the utility of Glass is immediately reduced when I leave the house.

I’ve been working on connecting Glass to my glasses, since having the Glass frame and my glasses frame cause problems with placement and view.  To that end, I am working with the instructions from the AdaFruit site.  Will let you know how this works out.

I am sure as I explore more I will post more… I am excited by the possibilities yet to be realized.

Google Developer’s Conference

*** It seems that this post didn’t go up when I thought it would..not sure what happened (I am sure it is a users/poster error).

I was lucky enough to have a very long drive during the Google IO keynote so I had time to listen to the livestream of all three hours while driving down the highway. There were a couple of key items that I found very cool and I’d like to share them now..

1) Google is finally getting social right. Their use of Google Now, Google Hangouts, and their new features of Maps are all great examples of how they are leveraging social and location data to create incredibly cool results.
2) Google is making a great play for the education market. One of the things that Apple has been historically good at, is addressing the K-12 markets, but their premium pricing have become a bit of a challenge in today’s highly sensitive budgetary environments. The Google Play store for education sounds amazing: teachers able to push apps to their students, centralized financial control, but teacher lead purchases, and many other features.
3) Larry’s speech was amazing. I am sure part of it was the tenor of his voice driven by his vocal chord paralysis. His vision of the value of technology and engineering and how we all as developers are going to change the world, was not only compelling, but also inspiring. Yes, I can easily point out the self serving nature of some of his platform comments. Yes, I can talk about how his “open” comments are again a bit disingenuous. But it still was a great speech.

The net was, I can’t believe I didn’t order my Google Glass last year, I will have to do it when they become more generally available.

What did you find interesting?