Google Glass First Impressions

My interest in Google Glass was mostly for development, given its radically different experience and very interesting potential use cases. I was also very interested in the device from a societal standpoint in the sense that Glass is so new, people aren’t fully aware of them yet like they are with mobile phones.

There’s a whole world of “Glass etiquette” that has yet to be established which I find fascinating. Nevertheless, I jumped at the opportunity to purchase a set recently when offered an invite from Google. I couldn’t justify the cost (more on that in a bit), luckily my employer was willing to help out. Glass arrived recently and after about a day or so of use, I’m still interested.

Upon Arrival

Something I think Google is becoming very good at is packaging. Like my Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7 and Nexus 5, Glass was packaged very nicely in a very sturdy white box. It came with some nice accessories: shade attachment, ear piece, USB cable, power adapter and pouch. The visuals inside the box demonstrating where things were and what they did was very beneficial for this completely alien device I was receiving. Additionally, having never worn glasses in my life, that notion alone was and is still awkward for me to get used to. I’m sure in time that feeling will fade, but for now, it’s very noticeable.

First Setup

Setup was quite simple for Glass. I downloaded the MyGlass app for my Android phone, went through a quick video tutorial, paired my device to Glass and was setup in a few minutes. The initial setup was really very painless and a pleasant experience. The only hitch was Glass didn’t work with my company’s WiFi access points (likely because we’re using MSCHAP or some other unusual security measure). However Glass did pair perfectly fine with my home WiFi network, which is WPA2.

The Glass Interface

I expected this to be the biggest hurdle: Interacting with a device that there’s no precedent for, sort of like the iPhone in 2007. Google has done a great job in really streamlining what you see and how you interact with Glass. It’s a lot more touch oriented than I had expected, however I imagine this may be because we’re all used to touch gestures on our phones by now. Perhaps in time Glass will become less touch oriented and more voice oriented, track your eye movement, etc.

The Draw

It was immediately apparent why anyone would even want glass in the first place. It can do a lot of things that are less than optimal on the mobile phone. For example, walking somewhere while looking at directions. If you live in the city, this is a dreadful experience with your phone as you’re likely to bump into at least one person on your trip. Glass puts that same navigation just out of your line of sight, so you can focus on actually walking and experiencing what’s around you. Additionally, snapping photos and recording video are another huge selling point. Most people would agree that there are moments where you just can’t pull out your phone fast enough or you can’t really describe the crazy thing your dog just did. Glass has you covered with a quick voice command or a push of a button.

Conclusion

I don’t know what Google’s plans are for the consumer device, but I think Glass will be a hit if they can make the price work. $1500 is far too expensive for the device to catch on in my opinion. As a Google/Android fan, a developer and someone who has a comfortable living, I still couldn’t justify the $1500 for a shiny new development toy. Perhaps if they get below $500 and help out those with prescription lenses, then I think it’ll be a success. Regardless, I’m excited for this device. I haven’t yet started developing for it; although I have read through most of the getting started for the Mirror API and Glass SDK. My mind is already swirling with app ideas that I’ll be looking forward to working on.


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