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Google Glass: Ergonomics, Performance, And Practicality, Tested

The Requirements And Future Of Glass

The Requirements of Glass

MyGlass, running on Android 4.2.2

It’s also worth noting the limitations of Glass in its current incarnation. First of all, while it paired just fine with my iPhone 5 over Bluetooth, turn-by-turn directions and text messaging aren’t available. For this, you need an Android 4.0.3 or higher-based device and the MyGlass app installed. TechCrunch claims that this will soon change, but to get my initial impressions down, I had to run down to the local AT&T store and buy a new phone.

After that $700+ spend, I figured out that Glass also needed a Wi-Fi connection to the phone in order to connect to the Internet. That means you need a tethering plan. I’m seldom on the road, so I was cruising along with 300 MB/month of data. Now I need 5 GB/month to get mobile hotspot functionality (which turns off Wi-Fi when it's active, meaning you’re pulling a lot more information down over LTE than before). That’s $20 more a month.

The Future of Glass

Glass hasn’t even officially begun its life yet. It’s in the hands of very few folks, and the capabilities Google shipped it with are still few. Already developers are arming Glass with lock screens, wink-recognition (for snapping photos), support for Reddit, and Twitter access. To the folks derided Glass as a buggy first-generation product, give it a chance to get out of the training wheels. Yeesh.

As Google improves Glass through updates like XE5 and gets the platform onto more heads (hopefully at a better price than the $1,500 we spent), you’re going to see a lot of people using Google’s software products that weren’t before. I’m on Facebook fairly often. I use Twitter occasionally. Google+ is not in my regular rotation. Post-Glass, however, it’s obviously a lot more important. And there are clear paths to the company’s other technologies, too.

How about Glass in the Angelini household? It’s certainly not leaving with me every time I run an errand, and mostly because of the form factor. I’m just not comfortable wearing Glass everywhere, and I’m not carrying them around in a pouch when they’re off my head. I don’t have unrealistic expectations about the battery, the projector doesn’t give me a headache, and I had minimal trouble with Google’s voice recognition—many of the gripes I’ve read elsewhere haven’t soured my experience. But Glass is as inconvenient in your hands as it is helpful sitting on your head, I’m not particularly enthused about adding $20 to my cell plan, and some of the rough edges (like low call volume and poor A/V quality in hangouts) still need to be smoothed over.

Regardless of what Google eventually charges for Glass, I see a lot of folks waiting on the sideline for their killer app. 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). And if you want a different perspective, try turning the tables. I did it as a joke (and because I figured my wife would find it cute). Turns out it's actually pretty cool to get reminded what everything looks like from half my height.

  • 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.
    Reply
  • blackmagnum
    Elitist geek tech. Making it illusive like Gmail beta. We can only watch and dream.
    Reply
  • witcherx
    why not just make lens.. come on aliens...
    why give us outdated products...
    Reply
  • 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!
    Reply
  • 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"
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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! :)
    Reply
  • randomizer
    That is going to be shown at his 21st isn't it?
    Reply
  • butremor
    I like this video showing how it looks like looking thoriugh a glass http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-y3bEjEVV8
    Reply