Thoughts on Glass

So, I’ve been working with Google Glass for a month. I don’t currently own a pair, so I’m borrowing a pair from work to use. Here are my thoughts on Google Glass so far, now that I’ve given them back.

Google Glass is awkward to use for recording

Having to speak commands is not always useful, especially when you wear glass in non-optimum weather conditions, like when it is cold. The alternative is to tap on the touchpad on the side of your head, and this makes it tricky when you are somewhere like Stanley Park, trying to record the Bright Lights Train Ride. Also, it’s ridiculously easy to accidentally record people without their consent, which is why you should only record in public, or if you’re making a DIY video with your hands or something.

Crap Battery is a feature, not a bug

I think there’s nothing wrong with the battery on Google Glass for it’s intended use case. The reason I think this is because it’s not intended to be used as a long-term recording device. I used it to record the Trinity Street Lights, and after less than an hour, I went from 100% to 22%. Recording about an hour of video takes about all your battery life, which I think is a good thing, since this is the only way that someone can record someone without their consent without it looking like a nervous tick.

Glass needs shutters/covers and a recording light

Glass needs a way to indicate that you’re recording. The display does light up but you have to look directly at someone to tell if they’re recording, because the light is dim. There needs to be an attachment to place on and off the camera to indicate whether you’re taking in data or not. You don’t need the camera for 90% of what Glass does right now, you only need it for recording video, and taking pictures.

Content on Glass doesn’t make sense

Reading on Glass is a pain, it’s good for a few notifications, but most of the apps, including things such as Field Trip, are irritating. Ingress on Glass as it exists today would suck. Cordova apps on Glass, while they are possible, need to cater to the platform, because the Web sucks on Glass. It’s still fun to write Cordova Apps on Glass, and I’ll still do it, but the apps are going to be very different than apps on any other platform. Write Once, Run Anywhere isn’t going to happen easily.

So many questions boil down to WHY????

  • Why can’t my Glass device communicate with my Android phone better?
  • Why can’t I see Hangout notifications on Glass?
  • Why is the frame so rigid?
  • Why do these things cost $1600 still?

Right now, I’d say that the Glass software is about as mature as Android 1.0 was. It would be great if Glass was to become open source and if there were multiple vendors. I think that the Glass Developer Kit Preview was awesome, since the Mirror API and the Vendor Lock-In to Google App Services was bullshit. I also think that there are many use cases for Glass, BUT I don’t think that it’s a mainstream device without Google’s other project, Google Helpouts.

Overall, I like Glass, and I’d probably buy a production pair. I wouldn’t pay to join their developer preview if I knew now what I knew then, but I definitely have some uses for Glass. Also, more integration with mobile is a must for this device. I should be able to push what I’m browsing with Glass onto my phone, tablet or laptop. The problem with developing these features ourselves is the same problem that we have with a closed roadmap. We have no idea what Google is actually planning, and that’s why it’s frustrating to solve a lot of these problems.

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