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Google Glass: $1500 Dollars Later and All I Got Was This Lousy Photo

Some people indulge their midlife crises with botox, others with convertible cars or travel. Mine, true to form, was plunking down enough money for Amex to put a stop on my card, and join the elite ranks of augmented reality wearing Google Glass-ers . (Yes, Glassholes to many).
Within two minutes of my personal fitting and introduction to Glass I knew had the same feeling as when I scarf a bunch of chocolates. “This is a temporary high,” I thought.

Glass is really three things. A bone conduction headset to place a call or dictate a message. A camera to record video or photos. And a prism that serves as your screen. It hovers just above your eyes, carefully positioned to augment, not overtake reality. The rest is all dependent on two things: what Glass Apps you’re running and what you do with the Bluetooth link to your smartphone. In many ways, Glass is like wearing your Smartphone.

A couple of early revelations –

Glass can be nauseating

The setup involved me using my phone, my PC and my Glass at the same time. An ADD trifecta. I was yelling “ok google to my phone” only to cast my eyes upward and say “ok glass” to my glasses, all while clicking on my laptop. Doing a search of the Internet with my Glass involved the combo command OK Glass Search Google. The results, needless to say, were pretty unexpected.

You can feel slightly autistic using your Glass

Ninety percent of what I can do with Glass involves either taping or swiping the Glass frame. Immediately after purchasing I had lunch with mom. She remarked that I looked seriously like a couple of the Chelsea homeless who frequented her diner. They too tapped the side of their head incessantly.

If you lose your Glass you lose your Glass

First question to my Glass Guide (the twenty something at Google who indoctrinated me) was “how do you track them when you lose them? “ Guess what? No answer to that question. Note to development community — this should be a mandatory app.

I ran out of things to do in about an hour

Google’s basic repertoire (minus the handful of apps that exist) consists of taking a photo or video, sharing that photo or video, making a call or a video call, searching Google, or sending photos to your social media friends. These activities wore thin for me after a few hours. Since you can’t caption the photos you share it seems like this “photo taken by Glass” tag is simply viral marketing (for both me and Google).

Google Doesn’t Want You Distracted

Our Glass guide spent a lot of time telling us what Glass was not meant to do (watch movies, read a book, store all your contacts). You can make a phone call from your Google Glass – though the bone conduction headset is not ideal for anyone but a bald guy. Hair impedes the sound. Your calls are best made in a very quiet room. And because Glass doesn’t want you to be distracted by phone calls they made the decision to limit your contacts to 10 numbers – most friends have at least two numbers, by the way.

The Battery Drain is Incredible

After a few videos and phone calls both my cell phone and my Google Glass were out of charge. Note to self: Plan to spend time hovering near outlets.

Human Latency

Glass demands that you think ahead. Snap a photo and want to share it? You’d better be mentally prepared. If you take the photo and tap your head to indicate Share within about 3 seconds you’re done. Barely time to look at what you’ve snapped. And using the two fingered salute to click on a URL while searching the web is more like target practice than web surfing.

Yes, Glass has had its disappointments. Some I expect will be remedied with more apps. (I’m reading the headline of the NY Times as we speak). The experience is either exhilarating or frustrating – never just ho hum.
At the end of the say, I’m having a ball. I am the conversation piece. Too bad I’m too busy tapping, tilting and saying ok glass to notice.

Robin Raskin is the founder of Living in Digital Times. Living in Digital Times will be hosting several major events and conferences at CES 2014 next week, such as the Digital Health Summit and MommyTech Summit. 


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  1. One of the first things on the myglass app is the device location. Does that qualify as a mandatory app?

    Did you write this article a long time ago? Or did you not use the myglass app? or did you somehow not notice the first thing that came up on the myglass app?

    Also, you can caption the photos you take when you share them.

    This is not a good article at all. It’s like asking my girlfriend to explain football to me. Most of your audience understands technology better than you and would be better able to understand that Glass isn’t about how much you can do on glass as much as taking the things you already do with your phone and make it more convenient.

  2. This article perfectly captured my own experience with glass. The homeless reference was spot on too.

  3. Google now has a direct data collection system in Glass, straight to their and the NSA’s databases. I think I’ll pass on Glass all together.

  4. This is a fair assessment and why I think Google Glass won’t be for everyone when it is released. That being said, you didn’t mention the primary uses that I have for my Google Glass (e.g., music, youtube, emails, to-do lists, texts, navigation, now cards).

  5. I know! It’s only a matter of time before they send me an award for being such a good person. Before, I was worried all my good deeds went unnoticed. Not anymore 🙂

  6. She couldn’t have written it six months ago and been able to read the New York Times headlines without the newest update. So, somehow she scrolled down enough on the myglass app to add New York Times, but missed the device locator that was displayed on the screen before she scrolled down.

    Also, she didn’t notice you CAN control the volume. Somehow she forgot to mention the in-ear headphone,

    I will point out though, she was spot on when describing surfing the web and clicking links on Glass. I think most people will have to continue to use their phones and computers for web browsing.

  7. They too tapped the side of their head incessantly. <—- that had me laughing for about 20 minutes honestly.

    My husband thinks those glasses are the coolest since sliced bread. I mean really he sees people connected to the net by a plug someday.
    BTW you look nice in them.
    And you are targeting your correct audience, people who want your honest perception of a device. I applaud you for your honesty.

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