24 hours with Google Glass

A few thoughts on what it's like to be an early-adopter with strange eyes

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Howard, my dog, through Glass.

Photo by author

I picked up a Google Glass headset yesterday. I've had it on and off my head for about 24 hours. Here is what my notepad of thoughts looks like:

  • If everyone is wearing Glass in a certain space (like at the Glass office in Manhattan's Chelsea Market), Glass seems very normal. If, like in most places, you're the only one wearing Glass, you are going to feel it. In that part of your upper neck where all your high-school-age embarrassment is stored for safekeeping.
  • The pictures are really nice, and convenient, and give you moments you couldn't get otherwise. This is a key "selling point" for Glass (if we suppose they were actually for sale to the public, at some reasonable price), and it's a good point. Especially for sports enthusiasts, people who create things with their hands, and people with adorable pets and/or children. Not you folks with ugly kids, though. You can stick with phones.
  • There is no way I'm going to wear this headset in restaurants or stores. Besides the inherent non-public nature, there is the question of what you're doing in there, if you're answering texts and shooting photos. News photographers ask permission to shoot in private spaces, and you should, too.
  • A contact in Buffalo who picked up his Glass about two weeks ago told me that it's easier walking around with Glass in New York than in Buffalo, NY. In Buffalo, he suggested, it's easier to wear Glass with the sunglass-style shades inserted. His thoughts have borne out correctly so far. Big-city residents have a practiced keep-moving-don't-care gaze and gait to their walk. In the Buffalo airport, late on a Thursday night, I think literally every one of the dozens of people I passed on the way out to the parking lot stopped to regard my titanium-and-plastic visor. But I also probably add to my visibility with my own self-awareness (which might fade a bit).
  • The other killer feature of Glass, so far, has been directions. They are rendered in Google's concise blue-arrow-on-streets fashion, and they disappear when you have a stretch of biking, walking, or driving, appearing only when you're approaching a turn.
  • My Glass headset is much louder than was seemingly suggested in the Glass fitting. Glass uses bone conduction for its audio, but either it's not fitting right on my ... bones, or the volume has somehow been raised.
  • How would I adjust the volume, you ask? There's no setting for doing so in the Glass headset itself—unless you do a tiny bit of hacking and play with the "Labs" features. In the most Google-y of Google products, you can adjust up to 43 experimental settings inside Glass, if you're remotely handy with Android development tools.

That's it for now. More to come, after I have either become more used to the Glass experience, or I have given up on making new friends. Any questions? Tweet at me, comment on the Google+ post, or leave a comment here.

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