Image Gallery: My week with Google Glass

How a product most people wouldn't dream of buying can get you thinking about what you want from technology.

The author wearing Glass. Too weird/meta/creepy?
Credit: ITworld/Kevin Purdy

I wore Google Glass daily for a week, and I've worn a Glass headset occasionally since then. I have the dog pictures and bicycle videos to prove it. But I can't get over the impression that Glass is a strange hobby for Google.

My week with Glass mostly served as a glimpse into a future where you and the web know each other so well that you only need to occasionally glance at each other to stay plugged in and helpful. There was also a hint that you, as a normal human, could someday wear them to your niece's birthday party.

Note: This slideshow accompanies our story 7 days with Google Glass. Click through to that story for more on the Glass experience.

My Glass guide, who knew exactly when the first photo was coming.
Credit: ITworld/Kevin Purdy
Day 1: Glass guide

Before you wear a Glass headset, you get an hour-long tutorial on the whole Glass process in the office, with a Glass Guide. My Glass Guide was a friendly, eager young woman who was remarkably unshaken by my litany of questions. She made sure the Glass headset fit and displayed properly. I snapped a photo, shot a video, and looked up directions to a nearby burger joint.

New Yorkers paying me no mind.
Credit: ITworld/Kevin Purdy
Day 1, cont.: Hitting the streets

After Glass was connected by Bluetooth to my Android phone (and tethered to its data whenever not on Wi-Fi), I was set free upon the people and streets of Manhattan. I tried to find the quietest voice level one could use to talk to Glass on a crowded city street. I mumbled a lot.

My dog Howard, dealing with the future of face-cameras.
Credit: ITworld/Kevin Purdy
Day 1, cont: Goodnight Glass

Heading home after picking up Glass, I try to power Glass on at the airport and promptly receive a warning about a 6% battery level. I kill that last bit of battery trying to connect to a free Wi-Fi spot that requires a click-to-agree web page visit. I charge Glass on the plane, though, and snag a rather adorable smush-face shot of my dog Howard upon arriving home.

The author, at left, captured by someone testing out Google Glass
Credit: ITworld/Kevin Purdy
Day 2: Coworkin'

I work at CoworkBuffalo most weekdays, with a number of programmers, designers, and tech-savvy laptop warriors. I spend most of the morning after my Glass pick-up explaining what Glass does, how it works, and loaning out my headset for test runs, while I write up my first 24-hour impressions.

Here I am, at left, captured by someone testing out Google Glass.

A friend who inadvertently took a meta/privacy/sharing/reflection shot.
Credit: ITworld/Kevin Purdy
Day2, cont.: Oops!

I bring Glass over to a friend's house that night. He is, after about 10 minutes of verbally admonishing the headset, entirely done with it. But not before he accidentally shares a photo of himself on Google+ with this caption: "oh crap I think I just shared something with you." The look on his face is exactly what critics of a too-connected society are looking for.

Day 3: Terminator

For 30 minutes on a Saturday, I aim to live like the interesting people in Glass demonstration videos.

Except reaching up to tap Glass while you're running doesn't work, at all. The "OK Glass" screen is dismissed immediately, because your head is bouncing from running, so Glass must be overcorrecting for false look-up positives. You could still reach up and awkwardly finger about for the manual camera trigger, but responding to texts or getting directions is out of the question.

Still, it was kind of neat getting proof that my dog is a track star. And hearing one neighbor's reaction: "You look like the Terminator, and you're after me!"

Credit: ITworld/Kevin Purdy
Day 4: Gen Con?

I let another friend try out Glass while on a walk. We try to imagine some realistic scenarios where Glass would be really, truly useful:

- Bicycling in unknown territory (needing directions, snapping photos)
- Skiing (video and ski trail maps)
- Bakers, brewed coffee snobs, sculptors, and other people who work with their hands but might need to stay receptive (text messages, photos)
- Scouting locations for films, for office space, and so forth (photos and Google+ photo sharing).
- Situations where you will need to look up things quite frequently (art galleries, tourist trips ... Gen Con?)

Yet the drawbacks come up before we even make it home.

Capturing what it is I do. Which is thrilling.
Credit: Kevin Purdy/ITworld
Day 5 and beyond

After the initial testing, Glass has become an "extra thing." It's something I might wear if I know keen photos are a possibility, or if I'll need heads-up navigation, or just want to freak people out. It's nowhere near a part of my everyday life. (The photo captures my everyday life, which is thrilling). Until it somehow breaks its chicken/egg lack of ubiquity, there will not be much demand to bring it along. Honestly, I already have vast quantities of smartphone photos I ignore and leave disorganized, and I prefer to do my knowledge quests in their proper time and place: that is, when I'm supposed to be working, but desperately want to do anything else.

Credit: ITworld/Kevin Purdy
A worthy experiment

When you are wearing Glass, in this very early stage, you are inviting even more scrutiny, centering the public lens on the technology you have out in front of others. You are giving yourself constant physical access to a realm of messages, searches, and camera functions that most people have to reach into their pockets to obtain. This is the experiment Google is performing in public with Glass: where is the tension point with the information we can keep at our fingertips, in our field of vision, awaiting our verbal command?