Glass

Exploring Google Glass

Spice IT

by |

If you have been paying attention over the last year or so you have probably noticed wearable technology popping up all over the place. It seems like everyone is wearing some form of fitness tracker these days. While the purpose of a fitness tracker is rather clear, the same cannot easily be said of other wearables such as smart watches and glasses. Recently I was afforded the opportunity to participate in the Google Glass Explorer program and as I close out my first 30 days with the device, I wanted to take to the CDW Solutions Blog and share my experience with everyone.

Meet Glass

Unpacking and setting up the device was fairly straight forward. Ease of set up is pretty much an expectation with technology these days and Google delivers on that promise. As you can see from the image below instructions are ingrained throughout the packaging. In the box we have Glass, detachable sunglasses, an ear bud, carrying case, and a standard USB charger.

Unboxing

 

The Glass device itself seems rather well constructed. Its light and comfortable to wear and easily adjusts for the perfect fit.

google_glass

 

Since I live in Arizona I was delighted to see that Glass comes with detachable sunglasses. These attach by simply sliding the lenses between the nose pads and up against the bridge. The only issue I see here is keeping the lenses clean of smudges when taking them on and off.

sunglasses

 

Lastly Glass has a removable ear bud that can be adjusted for length.

ear_bud

 

Glass Controls

The inner workings of Glass are detailed in the photo below. They include an internal and external facing camera, microphone, track pad surface, and the Heads up Display screen.

  1. The optical view screen is essentially a Heads up Display (or HUD) that projects an image onto a prism. The image quality is actually pretty good considering the small size of the screen.
  2. An interior camera tracks eye movement. While this feature is currently limited to winks, there are a number of developer applications in the making that actually track your full eye movement.
  3. A power button
  4. Glass is voice enabled. You can say commands that start with “Ok Glass”. One example would be “Ok Glass, give me directions to the nearest gas station.”

makeup

 

Of course what would any interactive technology be without Swipe and Tap capabilities? Operating Glass seems very natural since we are all comfortable with the concept of swipe and tap. You can use these motions to navigate the various menus and options that are context specific.

swipe

 

Now that we have spent a few minutes looking at the device itself let’s talk a little bit about the potential uses for Glass. For myself this is the most exciting part of the Explorer program, getting to uncover new ways to use Glass in real world situation and for me that means business situations. I asked myself the following question: “How can my customers use this device to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace?”

Photo and Video Use Cases

Out of the box, Glass offers capabilities for spontaneous photo and video capture. Public Safety organizations would benefit from the integrated and easy to use camera and video functionality. The ability to record exactly what one is seeing or snap photos with the wink of an eye are powerful tools for inspectors, first responders, and law enforcement officials. Extend this capability with apps that facilitate real-time Point of View video to effectively see through another person’s eye and the possibilities become even greater.

Augmented Reality Use Cases

This is the area of most potential to me. Glass, with its HUD like capabilities, offers us the ability to overlay information onto anything we look at. This is picture in picture for the modern area, only with some valuable usage scenarios. Through the use of QR Codes or Near Field Communications (NFC) capabilities, consumers would have access to additional product information, purchasing options, and support. Imagine the installation instructions for that new Ikea contraption accessible with the blink of an eye.

Below you see a screenshot of me calling on the Experts Who Get IT to help with support of my new gadget.

HUD

 

Below are some visual examples of comparable art.

comparable_paintings

 

Is Glass Ready and is the World Ready for Glass?

Considering Glass is still not available to the general public I do believe there is significant potential for the device in the near future. When it comes to usability and acceptance there are a few things that need to be addressed specific to Glass.

Availability of Apps

As of the publication of this article, there are not a lot of Glassware in the Google app store. Of course considering the penetration of Glass in the market place this is not surprising. I look instead to the types of apps that exist today. As one would expect all the major Social networks have apps. Now your friends can be even more in-your-face than ever before. Whether that’s good or bad is for you to decide. There are a number of Glassware that allow you to be truly hands free while adding value though. Some examples are the recipe apps, location based apps such as Field Trip that provides you with information based on what you are looking at and where you are. Also a number of fitness apps exist today. As Glass makes its way into the hands of more people you can expect the quantity and quality of Glassware to improve. The thing to consider is that virtually all apps that exist on your Smart Phone could be made Glass capable in some fashion or another so the foundation is already laid.

glassware

 

Platform Integration

Today Glass works best when coupled with an Android phone. iPhone capabilities are ok but many of the location based services simply are not there. Sorry, no turn by turn in your field of vision for the Apple crowd. Windows phones and other platform capabilities are non-existent. In order to gain wide acceptance Glass will need to play nice regardless of the device platform.

Social Acceptance

This issue is specific to Glass above all other wearable technology. In general people are just not comfortable with Glass in a public forum. Even while running or cycling it tends to draw odd looks but take Glass into a more social setting and it can draw outright hostility. A number of public venues have banned the devices over privacy concerns. I personally don’t know that I would feel comfortable walking into a restaurant or public place wearing the device. I think this will continue to be an obstacle for Glass for the foreseeable future.

In the end it’s all about the apps and Google will rely on the developer community to create valuable scenarios for consumers and businesses alike.

What do you think? Is Google Glass going to take off? Comment below.

Comments

18 Comments

  1. George Harris

    I agree that there is a social acceptance problem. Hopefully this will be overcome soon by miniaturization. Rather than a prism, if a small projector could put the display on the glass lens and the touch swipe bar got smaller..

    1. Dee

      If you do not work in a technology related field, you are probably living in a false sense of security already…this is where I think the most opposition from society will stem – the people that feel they are being violated that think they currently. This really is no different than the government listening to our phone calls without permission. The laws that govern ‘the use of’ collected information perhaps is the missing piece of legislation. Our lives are already being recorded – some people are unaware and some refuse to admit. I would like to see the argument of recording something on your cell phone to create a video versus Glass. The device is different – recording and sharing capacities the same. So why do people feel that Glass is more intrusive than existing mobile technology?

  2. Sam

    While I think a new gadget like this is a cool concept, I am also concerned of the privacy concerns that were mentioned in the post. If there is a way around these, that would be great. But I can’t see how it’s possible to get around them with what I know of the device at the moment.

  3. Mark Lin

    I think it will definitely take off at least in a limited use. Imagine if all of us tech support had one when we had to call vendor support for troubleshooting…no more having to describe what you see on your screen or the physical makeup of the server!!! Or if the people you are trying to help had one of these…no more asking them what they see and them telling you things that are trivial.

    This is only a social concern because you can see them… I’m sure there are hidden wearable cameras and people who are discreet with their camera phones that can do more damage.

    I think it would me more of a concern for the wearer to be constantly bugged about it and people asking to try it out ;)

  4. Steven Solomon

    I was invited to participate months ago and never did because the technology is overpriced.

  5. thesynic

    This appears to be the highly regrettable path of the future. The technology is fantastic in its own right but as with all powerful mobile tech (see mobile phones and ghetto blasters) this too will be treated by most without respect for others privacy. Maybe forced consideration for others is required. Like the Germans with their no passing on the right on the autobahn. We need social rules for the a$$holes of our society with no technology zones in movie theaters and other socially sensitive settings. Sad that we have already adapted to the omnipresence of mobile phones. People can’t seem to even put them down when taking a piss. Glass in public bathrooms too?! Great. We’re doomed.

  6. Joe Shepherd

    I think the price certainly is a bit much for the average consumer. This device is not really consumer ready in my opinion but I also don’t believe Google is targeting consumers yet. Think of this as an opportunity for developers to get their hands on an early stage disruptive technology. I think there is value in that even at the current price.

    I believe the most significant hurdles facing Glass are the social and privacy stigmas associated with it. I believe that the limited distribution of Glass has actually done more damage than not. People tend to fear what they do not understand and by creating a mystique around Glass Google has actually perpetuated that stigma.

  7. Ron Arroyo

    As stated by previous posts, there is definitely a stigma about this technology for the masses with privacy concerns topping the list. As more technology minded and innovators embrace the possibilities and steam ahead, I believe the benefits will outweigh the hesitation of acceptance. My short amount of time with Glass has opened my eyes to many possibilities and I look forward to further development.

    One thing I would like to add, I find the convenience of the information on the display outweighs any of my uses for the camera. I am sure that there is a large market of users that would only depend on the GlassWare and the readily available information rather than any camera GlassWare. My recommendation to Google would be to provide a method of covering the camera for areas inappropriate or sell a model without the camera.

  8. blscurl;ock

    People keep going on about how this technology will be such an invasion of privacy. But if you think about it how much privacy do you have when in a public place? From the private surveillance cameras that are in almost every place of business to the traffic and police dash cams, the cell phones in virtually every hand that is older than 6 years old all the way to the spy satellites orbiting above, we lost the privacy that everyone sites as the big problem with this product long ago. I think the best practice is to behave in a manner that would not cause you any embarrassment if it was captured in audio, video, or stills because it most likely already is. Then you have those posting on facebook about how they don’t want Google knowing what they are doing, where they are and when but I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but in the era of posts, tweets, likes, tags, friends, circles, and all the other ways that social media gathers your information to sell to advertisers. They already know more about you than you can imagine after all why do you think they provide these services that are free for you to use, its because you are the product they sell to make the billions of dollars they have not the customer that pays it. In the end I think the benefits and potential for this product could be great if people where to act responsibly with it but if we where responsible and considerate of the desires and sensitivities of our follow humans we wouldn’t need laws or government. Just saying.

  9. Scott

    It will probably be a social issue for Google Glass because it’s so noticeable, but once they develop Google Lens, it will be harder to tell when people are wearing them. It will take some time to integrate a camera into it though, until then it will probably be a separate device.

    Google X should also focus on good security to try to keep security groups/agencies from tapping into everyone’s Glass/Lens.

    And I’m also sure that it wouldn’t be very hard to develop a device that you can wear that blurs your face to any cameras, or at least blind the cameras with IR.

  10. GKumar

    It sure is a great piece of technology and very soon all youngsters will be walking around wearing one. 10 years ago nobody would have thought that mobile phone penetration would be so high as its today. Similarly 10 years from now a “glass” sort of wearable device would be something too common.

    Just wondering if Google or any company has tested the long term impact it may have on eyes, ears and brain as the device would be in so close contact with these organs. Mobile phone radiation is a point of concern for many people. Glass would definitely be of “more” concern as it not only keeps in constant “communication” wirelessly, It also has a screen and speakers that constantly bombard our eyes and ears with information.

    Other tidbits:
    1. Cameras have hand-stabilization to prevent shaky images. Glass should have “head-stabilization” soon!
    2. Glass will help people with the “selfie” craze. Only thing they have to stand in front of mirror to click their selfie!
    3. Greatest invention for year 2016: Glass with wipers just like you see in car. And a defrost mode.
    4. Samsung will soon feature a mega-glass with 10″ screens and 50 MP camera!
    5. Apple will release a iGlass with iris scanner to unlock the glass by scanning your iris. But iGlass will work only with iTunes and you can watch your pictures/videos only on Apple TV
    6. Microsoft will release “touch-screen” glass but you have to remove the glass you are wearing to touch the display. The glass will decorate their Windows albeit with no use

  11. Chris

    I think the privacy concerns are just being drastically overstated. You can easily record a conversation, shoot a video, or snap a picture with my smartphone without being noticed if you really want to. People are just being a bit dramatic per the norm to anything that is new. I think this device can be groundbreaking since for the most part people are walking around with their head down looking at their phone and this way they can actually see me when I am in front of them. This product just needs to be tweaked a little and it will take off.

  12. Claude Baines

    I think this device would first be accepted in the industrial sector and eventually, when appropriately configured, in the consumer area. If it could help field engineers troubleshoot and locate components of advanced systems.. it would be worth its weight in gold.. but Google seems to want to go for consumer first.. that to me, is a mistake.

  13. Gary

    It’s not enough to say “just behave in public”. There are outright privacy concerns that simply are not being addressed. While the gov and everyone else is technically spying on and recording much of what is being done, this content is not then being redistributed in a public environment (FB, etc.). Think of websites like “people of walmart” where the public is using camera phones to take pictures of people with the express purpose of them posting them in a humiliating fashion. What about a few kids who are bullied online and commit suicide? Now not only can BS be posted about them on FB, but pics and videos can be recorded without their knowledge and further used to torment them.

    Can you honestly say you’ve never done something in public that if it was recorded and posted to the web you’d be at the very least embarrassed over? Never picked your nose or scratched your ass or made a face while sneezing or wore some clothes that in certain positions might allow a pervert to get an inappropriate picture? With (as I’m sure Google wants) millions of these products potentially out there recording (if not outright streaming) everyone all the time just what do you expect will happen? How will a pic or recording be traced back to a particular unit/owner for accountability? Oh wait, it won’t.

    One last point, unless you are truly reporting news (which has an exemption), you need a signed model release in order to use any photo or video in any fashion of anyone’s likeness. So, just walking around recording people is not something that can then be legally be used without opening up the recorder to lawsuits by everyone who was recorded.

    Perhaps some people either are closet voyeurs or so ego driven they want to be the center of attention in any way possible… but I believe that vast majority wants what shreds of privacy still remain to be left alone and not further destroyed. This creation definitely falls into the “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” category.

  14. B Lee

    Privacy will be an issue. One person stated to simply act in a manner that you would not be embarrassed, but that’s not the issue. What about dressing rooms, bathrooms, that occasional flash upskirt, your pin as you use your credit card. These are things that may be view normally, but now is being recorded for dissection later on. If someone is using a phone, it’s a bit more obvious. I love the idea of the glasses, but I’m still concerned.

  15. Cort McPherson

    I am a google glass explorer. I have had the device for several months and love the device. Yes it is overpriced and limited. But honestly every new technology starts this way. Just think that the smartphone that we use today were once limited but has more peopke got their hands on the technology the smartphone has become limitless.

    In the terms of the privacy aspect has anybody realized that you constantly being watched through traffic cameras and other cameras. You can’t walk into a building without being on camera. The people that actually use this device for what its intended use it in a non creepy way. I don’t record everything and randomly take pictures. I tell people that I am recording and if they don’t like I simply don’t record. The interaction that I have had with perfect strangers have been positive. Many people just want to know what it does and does it actually work. Yes I have encounter some people that don’t feel comfortable around it but I have convinced them that they don’t have any less privacy now then they had 5 seconds before they saw me.

    Yes the device is not “consumer ready” but they need the explorers that have the device to show what the device can do and make the device has consumer ready has it possibly can. If you don’t like the price don’t buy. I think one reason Google has priced it this way is so people that actually want to advance the technology and see its future will buy it. The price will come down when google has deemed the device “consumer ready”. And has most of us know Google can handle not making much money of this project and survive.

  16. Randle Weaver

    The stigma comes mostly from the deployment method.
    Instead of trying to throw every piece of technology into this at once, they could start smaller and grow as acceptance grows. For example, start with the glass idea for information only. Using it as a screen that displays all the info you want streaming from your phone. If you need a picture, video or QR code, then you simply use your phone and the information will be added to your display.
    Later releases could start to integrate the other pieces of tech, such as the camera and QR code reader, then follow up with video. This method has worked over time. Take the cell phone for example. That was a revolutionary idea. Next the camera, and the video camera followed. We then add data plans and social media. This process took some time and was easily integrated into our everyday lives.
    Instead of coming out with a new gadget that has everything including heat seeking missiles and lasers. I’d recommend following similar trends of past technology. You’d also make more money. Just as the Ipod variations have made billions by slowly going from a touch pad, to a touch screen, to adding wi-fi and the world of apps. People always want the latest and greatest, so by introducing it today and then at Christmas time introduce your 2.0 version, you can increase your profitability by betting on human nature not changing.
    This method eases it into our everyday society and the stigma won’t fully be gone, but will no longer be a real factor by most.
    Great piece of technology, just needs to be eased into the general public. They can still do this because the product has not been released to the general public yet. GOOGLE rethink your business plan for distribution and timing. You will make my stocks worth more. :)

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