I’ve had my Google Glass since late June.
Since then I’ve entertained a multitude of thoughts about it. But now I know that I will buy it when it becomes available as a consumer product. Arriving at this decision was complicated.
1. When I first got Glass, I was so grateful to have it that I didn’t even think about how little it actually did. I just knew it was a product come to me from the future, and I absolutely love the future—or at least to sample the future until I decide I don’t love it. So I happily stared at the time, the weather, my own photos, and my tweet stream. Then I inadvertently picked up a video call with Glass and ended up showing a client my closet and my bathroom. That gave me second thoughts.
2. I also read all the stuff published by privacy advocates about what information Google was collecting from my Glass experience and became chary of giving any one company so much information. However, over the past four or five months, I’ve become attuned to the fact that all companies are collecting this kind of information, and at least Google is trading me back something: better scheduling, information about late airline flights, the auto-enhancement of my photos, and a way to impress strangers. And once I learned about the NSA, I began to consider Google a non-issue.
3. I love the way strangers respond to Glass. In the Apple store, they treat me like a diva since I let the Genius try mine on. In restaurants, the wait staff are always interested, and in my Arizona State University class I commanded instant respect. In Saigon, where I spoke at a Youth Entrepreneur Bootcamp, I was mobbed by young entrepreneurs. It’s not only geeks who are interested, it’s everyone. Two middle-aged women at a bar told me I was the future. The only thing I can liken it to is having a very beautiful dog that everyone stops to pet.
4. The software is getting better by the day. This morning I was able to click on a link in Twitter and read an article from the New York Times. There are still shortcomings: it’s difficult to remember how to send a tweet, because if you tap on message, you get the option to send a message to contacts. And after you wear it for a while, it’s difficult to locate the old messages, because everything is in a strict timeline. You get what comes in, in the order in which it comes. So it’s a melange of email,. breaking news, Twitter, Facebook and G+. I suppose I could turn off something, but it’s all interesting.
5. Every month Google updates the software. If I followed the Glass Explorer group more closely, I’d probably know more about the updates, but sometimes I don’t have time. However, the battery life is better, the speech-to-text feature is better (or I’ve trained it), and I know there are now transportation maps. My main takeaway is that the Glass team really responds to user comments and feedback, and that this product is destined to get better and better before its commercial release in 2014.
There’s truth to the rumor that Glass gives some people headaches. It gives me a headache if I wear it too often or for too long. This was disconcerting, but after I went to the doctor, the dentist, and the MRI machine to find nothing else, I had to admit to myself Glass does it. Especially since the headache is in the right eye. I hope Google will fix this.
So there it is: the good, the trivial, and the ugly. I know Glass’s real use will be somewhere like health care, where it is already being tested by surgeons. But this form of wearable, or heads-up display, or whatever you choose to call it, is slowly becoming a part of my life and now I feel something’s missing when I'm not wearing it.
[Image: Flickr user Geoff Livingston]