The day after Thanksgiving 2013, I became a member of a group only a handful of people in the DFW area can claim to be part of: Glass Explorers. And inside that small group is an even smaller subsection who refer to themselves as #teamcharcoal.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I had received my invite to buy Google Glass, but didn’t realize it until a local friend, Phillip Kasper, announced that he had received his invite. I looked at my email the next day and noticed an invite of my own. I had saved up money for purchasing it, but I never thought the invite would come within the same year as their début.
I ordered them, that day (and then told the wife about it later,,,oops! ^_^;; ), only to find out they would be shipped over night air after the holiday, to my work address. That meant I would have to wait outside of the office until the UPS driver showed up – sometime between 9:00am and 10:30am. They showed up at 10:16…
If you’ve followed any of the links in this post so far, you’ll find that most of them go back to a Google+ posting or profile. That’s because once I got Google Glass, Google+ became a larger part of my social media presence…but that is for another blog posting, to explain how I’ve added one more level of indirection to my social network syndication.
After having Glass for nearly 2 months now, a couple of things have become clear when I meet people who have never seen Glass in person…
1.) People are very curious
The most common question (until the Cecilia Abadie “driving with Glass” case this past week) was “What are those?” followed closely behind with “Are you recording me?”
Honestly, I don’t mind explaining what they are – and most people get it when I say “Google Glass”…but the follow-up question gets annoying, so much so that when the President of the company I worked for asked what they are, I replied “Google Glass, and no, I’m not recording you.” (He did later receive one of my 3 invites to buy them, but his wife prohibited it. Oh well.)
The next most common question is “What can you do with them?” which is either paired with, or followed by, “How much did they cost?” This is a question that only gets easier to answer over time. Initially, they were a $1500 (or $1623 after tax) always-ready camera for me. Over time, they have become an easier way to deal with navigation, Google Hangouts & Text Messages, and even a quick lookup for trivial information. But I don’t even pretend to claim that I use them to their full potential. There are many others in the Glass communities who are using them as a form to build accessories, as a platform to develop software, and even as an instructional tool to record POV videos for intricate tasks.
2.) People are misinformed
The problem with bleeding edge technology is that there is very little positive or useful information out there, and only the negative information gets amplified in the echo-chambers of social media.
Probably 90% of the people I come into contact with either assert that, or ask if, it is illegal to drive with them on, and then question the dangers of driving with them.
This all stems from the aforementioned Cecilia Abadie case where she was ticketed for speeding, and then ticketed for driving with Glass as well. Now, however, as any who follow-up with the news, or have friends who keep them informed, would know, she has been found “not guilty” of either charges, setting a pretty good precedent.
Driving with Glass took more time to get used to during the first day of ownership because your eye has to get used to looking past the clear display (which is rarely turned on). The device does not actually block any of your peripheral vision needed to drive safely, and the screen is positioned just above your main point of focus if you were to look straight ahead.
I posted a video showing what it’s like to drive with Glass, while using Glass to record it. In it, I describe the location of the screen in my field of vision, and show just how wide my field of vision is, along with a comparison to looking at the GPS on my phone versus using the Navigation feature of Glass.
The only real distractions inherent in Glass are the same distractions inherent in doing anything else while driving – choosing to do anything else other than focusing on the road. Since Glass only plays a notification sound, and doesn’t auto-activate the screen, the user still has the option to make the choice about whether to read the notifications – Glass doesn’t push them into your eye.
3.) People don’t know what to think
After nearly every conversation with a stranger about Glass, the person is left speechless, and muddling around their own thoughts on the device. I’m not entirely sure what is going through their head but usually sticker shock is the common reaction.
I agree that $1500+tax is a steep price to pay for something so small. And when you put it into other terms of what I could have bought:
- a Macbook Air
- 2 – 60″ TVs from Best Buy
- 10 Pebble Watches
- a part-time semester at a community college
- a Surface Pro and Windows Phone
- 2 complete upgrade parts sets for my gaming computer
When put that way, I really have no need for any of that except maybe the college tuition (provided the credits transfer to my university). Instead, the Google Glass puts me at the forefront of technology, and gives me a chance to experience my personal goals of living as far into the future as I can get in my lifetime.
I may not get to travel to space, or visit Mars. I may not be able to assimilate into the Borg. But if I can get real-time notifications pushed to my wrist, and instant information & stats sent into my eyeball, I’m all over that.