So I have been tooling around with Google Glass for about a week now. There has been something of a learning curve to be sure, and it does some neat tricks. But do I feel like I have got value out of them equal to the USD1500.00 (plus sales tax) I paid for them....? Well the answer is maybe yes, maybe no....
I don't think there is much need to offer a description of what Glass actually is here. There are plenty of things online that people can look at if they have no idea what Google Glass is. And I like to think the average reader of this humble organ is already in the know. But a very general overview might include the terms "mini-computer", "head-mounted", "Wearable display" and "HUD" or "Heads-up display".
OK...basically it's a giant thing hanging off the front of your face that runs Android 4.0.4, on frames, or perhaps more accurately a visor akin to a pair of sports sunglasses without the lenses. Which, lets face it, is kinda weird looking. Especially the no lenses thing. That said, what I have noticed is that people are mostly used to me wearing regular eye glasses, and so Google Glass kind of fades into my face for a lot of them, just as my regular spectacles do. But I still feel kinda self conscious about it all. Does it really look that dorky? Do they look stupid? Are people judging me? (I have some issues to work through obviously). Though someone did stop me in Itaewon the other day and inquire as to how I could justify spending that much money on Google Glass when their are starving orphans in .
Well like most enormously expensive tech related purchases I make I can't really justify it, except that I wanted it, and it's cool. So there.
The story goes back a bit further though, into the whole process of getting Google Glass. It's not easy for someone in Korea. Glass is, for all intents and purposes is a US only product at the moment. Google requires a US shipping address for you to order it, and you won't even get that far if you don't have a US IP address or a VPN to access the Glass site. Hell, you won't even get that far until you are "invited" to join the Google Glass Explorer program. Luckily I know someone who had gotten their hands on some Glass and had some invites to spare. Getting to the site via a VPN wasn't so hard either, but the shipping address was a big issue. I'm not going to say anything else on that subject in order to protect the innocent, but there was some malarky concerning the shipping of multiple pairs of Glass and some confusion on Google's end as to who was getting what... luckily it has been sorted out for the most part. (And as a result there is one other person in Korea, as far as I can tell, who also has a pair of Google Glass).
With all of this in mind there was a week or so of waiting and hyping and anticipation for when Glass would finally arrive in my hot little hands, or indeed on my hot little head. Much joy was expressed upon receipt, and may have included a scream, a giggle and possibly some jumping up and down.... I don't remember.
My first impressions (and let's be honest...first impressions are still developing) is that it is a pretty robust device build-wise. Obviously their is a certain amount of kid-glove tenderness I am exhibiting (unlike the throwing of my phone across the house this morning) and I am super conscious that this is $1500 worth of kit that is not easily replaced. Google provides a neat little microfibre case that protects Glass, but unlike regular eye glasses the arms of the device don't fold in so it's a bit difficult just to throw it in one's bag. It fits pretty securely on the head though. perhaps a little too snuggly as I have noticed that it pinches my right ear a little. That is the side with the battery, and while it is a little heavy it is pretty well balanced and I have never felt like it was going to fall off, despite some fairly vigorous head movements on my part. (Don't ask!)
I will go into depth on the Glass UI and use in a subsequent post, but Glass has also brought with it a major shift in the way I operate. Contact lenses. Glass doesn't fit very well over prescription eye glasses. Though I note that Google has released a couple of pairs of titanium frames in the week after I got glass. (good timing!) Retailing for a further $200 odd bucks, although I want them I can't quite bring myself to committing...just yet. So I have started wearing contacts. Contact lenses have come a long way since I last tried wearing them 10 years ago. (That attempt lasted about 3 days until I fell asleep with them in and couldn't open my eyes for like three hours the next morning!) With disposable lenses now all the rage I can pick up 2 months worth for about W80,000. And I am not wearing them every day. Which I suppose means I am not wearing Glass every day. I am still getting used to lenses, and after about 4 or 5 days now I am starting to get used to them. I think there is a psychological factor there as well, my world has been, for the most part framed by glasses ever since I was about 3 years old... I am definitely still getting used to it. And I have developed a new complex - I am sure one of my eyelids is bung and doesn't go back in my head as far as the other one - something hitherto I had not noticed since my eyes were hidden behind glasses.
So those are some initial thoughts on Google Glass, more to come in the next day or to.