2 Weeks in #Glass
It’s been 2 weeks since I got into the Google #glass explorer program – and I’ve been trying to wear the tangerine-colored 2.0 glasses as much as possible ever since I got ahold of them.
You may have missed this chapter in my personal history, but I worked on a virtual reality project called VR-WEAR some 5 years ago. While the project, which was very much like the Oculus rift but pre-kickstarter, did not get funded at the time (it was just after the subprime crisis in 2008 and bad timing for startups) immersive and augmented technologies have been a passion of mine for a long time.
As an early adopter and entrepreneur it was sort of my duty to be first on the wagon and find out if there was any business to be built on top of this platform (short answer: yes, obviously).
Glass is an experiment, and should be treated as such. No one knows when/if it’s ever going to go mainstream, but it’s definitely full of promises. I won’t tell you about the unboxing experience (you can read that in plenty of other places) or the fitting experience at Google’s San Francisco downtown offices (which are pretty awesome – thanks Svetlana for your patience!) Instead, I’ll focus on what Glass is and isn’t.
Glass isn’t an immersion device. The whole philosophy of glass is augmenting your vision, not replacing it. The initial SDK only allowed you to insert “cards” in a timely manner. While this sounds limited, this is really the spirit of the device: being there but letting you forget about it.
Glass is handless (almost). This is really one of the biggest changes in computer interaction imho – trying to run everything through voice commands. It still has its limitations but I can assure you that in below freezing temperatures, being able to map your route while keeping your hands warm is bliss (I actually did this).
Glass sucks your phone battery. Since it’s tethered to your phone through bluetooth 4, Glass will summarily kill your battery life (and my Nexus 4’s was already barely making it through the day – now I get to travel with an extra external battery pack, oh joy!)
Glass is dates and free beers – and every social interaction takes longer. If you’re looking to connect with people – just hang around in a meetup wearing glass, you’ll be the center of attention. If you dare go shopping while wearing them, expect any social interaction to start with “hey wassup with your glasses?” Also, meeting other explorers is awesome!
— #ThatTechGirl (@libertymadison) December 12, 2013
Glass is just the tip of the iceberg. Basically, any augmented reality idea that has popped up over the past 30 years (or ever since the first Terminator movie) now gets a sleek platform to be tried on. While using a phone for AR and holding it in front of you has always felt a bit awkward to me, glasses just makes it more natural.
As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about it and I have tons of ideas for cool stuff to build around this tech – not sure I’ll find the time to test them all but I can’t wait to see Glass fitted into a scuba mask!