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Google Glass: Ergonomics, Performance, And Practicality, Tested

The Etiquette Of Glass

So, if you don’t find yourself tugging at Glass due to sore ears or a sensitive nose, what might get you looking for a place to stash the shades? This topic could turn into a story unto itself. But based on my weekend with Glass, anywhere you’d feel weird holding a camcorder out in front of you could make any halfway-considerate person worry that they’re causing others discomfort, even if you're not doing anything wrong at all. Sitting on a bench at a playground? Yeah, Glass makes you look creepy. At a bar with Glass on? Sorta odd-looking. Just sitting with my family, eating dinner, I had an older gentleman snap something at me about “messing with those cell phone glasses,” and he didn’t even know what they were.

Although the brewery where we were dining didn't have any opinion one way or the other about me wearing Glass inside, other businesses have already pushed back against the technology, including a bar in Seattle and a strip club in Vegas.

But I also think that the attitude towards Glass in more common settings is going to change over time. More than once, I found myself with my hand up to my temple, navigating around text messages or fiddling with video I had captured earlier, aimed right at someone who was staring at me, wondering why this guy appeared to be looking back, frantically swiping at his head. Yeah, that’s awkward when the other person doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s a little easier to shrug off when you're aware that it takes an "OK Glass...take a picture" to snap a shot. You might want to think of this as a step beyond the folks who walk around with Bluetooth headsets in their ears, seemingly talking to themselves.

Hardly the model for spy-worthy stealth.

The privacy debate is going to be an issue long after Glass becomes widely available, but mostly because Glass is conspicuous. If someone wanted to take creeper shots all day long, they’d do it with something that didn’t scream “check out the camera strapped to my face,” and they’d get away with it. There would be no discussion because nobody would be the wiser. I’d probably be more worried about the other direction—the ramifications of pushing photos and video of my life online. Within hours of Marcus posting Google Glass: Ride Along With Chris as He Goes for Lunch, someone had figured out my address and a faster way I could have gotten back from Taco Bell.

None of that bothers me, despite the fact that I’m generally a super-private person (it’s all public record anyway). Fortunately, Marcus edited the video and blocked my credit card as I pulled it out to pay. It’s the inadvertent stuff like that folks should fret about when it comes to more candid, intimate moments in their life making their way online. It’s bad enough the government does so much of this behind our backs already.

I’d recommend that common sense dictate the right and wrong places to use Glass. But so little of that virtue is exercised nowadays. The folks who need to hear it aren’t even listening. And that’s why Glass is going to be the next thing law enforcement bans to prevent distracted driving.

Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • Benthon
    I'm personally excited to see where this takes off to. They just need to bring the price down and they have a new generation of product. Great review! It definitely was cute to see your kid walking around and getting him water/playing with him from his perspective.
  • blackmagnum
    Elitist geek tech. Making it illusive like Gmail beta. We can only watch and dream.
  • witcherx
    why not just make lens.. come on aliens...
    why give us outdated products...
  • CaptainTom
    This really is the future. It will just take the third generation or so before it becomes mainstream practical. Oh and I want the lenses to be screens themselves, that would be cyberpunk badass!
  • virtualban
    Why do you keep saying "Equivalent of a 25-inch HD screen from eight feet away"? The resolution, according to other sources, is not even 720p.
    You could say "Equivalent of a 16:9, 25-inch screen from eight feet away"
  • cats_Paw
    Considering the Privacy issues this will bring on the population, this product might be a big fail.

    I know if i had any form ob bussines, i would not allow my customers to be filmed there. That means, no google glass.
  • Vorador2
    cats_PawConsidering the Privacy issues this will bring on the population, this product might be a big fail.I know if i had any form ob bussines, i would not allow my customers to be filmed there. That means, no google glass.
    Privacy issues? The same than people with a phone. Nowadays anyone with a smartphone can take photos or record videos.

    The only thing it needs to do is to put a led than lights up when people take photos or make videos.
  • kettu
    "Take it from a dad, though: there’s something to be said for playing with your kid and recording it, rather than watching him run around, passively, through a smartphone camera (50 minutes of video at a time, that is)."

    I bet that recording everything gets real old real fast. What are you going to with thousands of hours of video? Show it to your friends? I bet they'll love every minute of it! :)
  • randomizer
    That is going to be shown at his 21st isn't it?
  • butremor
    I like this video showing how it looks like looking thoriugh a glass