Google Glass Review

I had a chance to get a Google Glass. Being the sucker for trying new technology that I am, I gave it a shot. Here’s what I learned.

Pros

  • Navigation app gives simple instructions, with high contrast drawings of the road.
  • Taking pictures is dirt easy
  • Taking videos is dirt easy
  • Touch pad on the side gives an alternative for constantly talking to the phone.

Cons

  • Battery life sucks – “one day of use”.
    • Realistically a few hours of intensive use, and then it’s over.  For example, I drove from Myrtle Beach, SC back to Raleigh, NC using it for GPS and had to switch back to my phone midway.
    • Related to this, the device is inoperable while charging.  This means it would not be possible to rig a shirt pocket battery with micro usb extension to it.
    • I put a 9300mah battery on my phone for a reason.  5 days of normal use seems a lot more usable than one typical day.  In the example above, I used my phone for gps going to Myrtle Beach using the phone at full bright the entire time.  It drained about a third.  Glass turns off its prism after a few seconds.  It still only went maybe 2/3 of the way before it was saying it had low battery.
  • Asymmetrical design isn’t really for me.
    • Partial fix for this and above would be to include a battery on both sides instead of just one.
  • Huge thing sticking out of the top right of your head
    • Fix for this would be to pull back the prism and entire unit going back towards the ear.  Then directly put the prism into the side of the lens, getting rid of the glass-less glass.
  • Had to get contacts – not compatible with my existing glasses.
    • I actually wear glasses.  Using google glasses with my glasses was a no go since the camera area collides with the prescription frames.  You also end up with two nose pieces.
    • As a side note, prescription glasses for this thing will probably be crazy expensive.
    • Even with contacts, I only got the tinted non-prescription lenses free.  The clear ones were another $75.  Very expensive for clear glass or rather plastic.
  • Common workflows needs help.
    • Take a picture with glass, autobackup will put it on your google account at some random time.  Generally soon if you are on wifi.  Go to google photos and deal with them.  Your phone will have a notification about the photos.  You’ll also still have a copy of the photos on the google glass, which appear if you plug them into your computer which wants to import them like a camera.
    • There needs to be a lot more work on single instancing the data across devices and work to process it.
  • TURN OFF THE NOTIFICATIONS
    • Notifications make a slight buzz on the bone conductor thing.  It will make a slight sound and end up tickling your ear.
    • I am a bit of a mindshare snob.  I don’t allow emails to chime when they come in.  IMs don’t beep, bloop, ding, chirp, bounce, wave, flash, or jump to focus.  I send people to voicemail if I don’t know them.  My concentration is important.  I can’t be randomly disturbed because an email from some random person came in.  If Google provides a way to reverse this, only notifying you with things you whitelist, then I would be much happier.  Until then, just give me a way to turn all of that off.
  • Google Glass is outside the glasses.
    • Tinted glasses will dim your Glass Screen.
  • Mono ear piece kept falling out of my ear.  Completely unusable.
  • Not really a fan of the visible screws (to someone talking to you) right between the eyes.
  • No easy way to “put it away”.
    • Device is flexible not collapsible.  If you go to do something with it, besides wear it, the only thing you can do is put it above your eyes like a woman’s hair hoop, but less secure.
  • You’re encouraged to talk to it.
    • No offense Google, but I’m not talking to my phone/glasses in public.
  • Head Position sensors
    • You can wake glass by tilting your head up.  Really?!  Can I have some lawsuit with that strained neck?  Besides being silly, this just seems like a bad idea.
  • Navigation app doesn’t do adhoc changes.
    • I was driving somewhere.  My wife asks me if we can stop at the next rest stop on our route.  Asking Glass to help out greeted me with the option to look at the overhead map or stop the route.
  • Starting up gives no feedback for several seconds.
    • If you push the button to turn it on, then put it on your head, the delay is long enough, you end up taking them off to verify that it is indeed booting/starting.  You can tell by looking at the back of the power button.  By then, you’ll see something is finally shining in the eyepiece.
  • Setup oddly confusing.
    • Maybe the setup was simple for the guy who invented it, but as a professional computer programmer for 16 years for everything from C64 basic to .NET apps, network apps, server apps, DB apps, and mobile apps, I couldn’t easily figure out what they wanted to setup the device.
    • Glass App seems confusing too.  I would expect to be able to explore the device more, but it seems like a stub service application with just a few UI bits on it.  Some things I would have expected to be able to do:  Browse the files, view logs, get battery level, projected run time, and so on.

Other Interesting Bits

  • Social Acceptance
    • I thought I was going to have more problems with people wearing it than I had.  I think that was helped by the fact that I used the tinted glasses rather than go without a lens, am a fairly big guy, and wasn’t obnoxious about wearing glass.
    • I actually had more people ask me about my Galaxy Note II (with extended battery) inside an arm band case on my arm.  I don’t know if they were really curious, or just trying to tell me I had a phablet on my arm 😉
    • Only time will tell if it will end up outlawed everywhere.  If it is, will it be outlawed if it is off?
  • Not ready for prime time
    • If Google is just happy to get early adopters when they go full release, then they will probably get it.
    • If Google wants general consumption.  I think it’s not ready for that.  Just too many important things in the Con list.
  • Limited use
    • While this device seems like it should have a lot of possibilities, I’m struggling to identify the practical applications.  I’m sure as more applications come out, people smarter than me will hopefully figure out how to do non-perverted, non-orwellian, and life enriching applications.  If I had to guess, I’d say that camera/gps based recognition of objects/places will end up being the top practical feature.  Ease of photos probably the best impulse recreation use.  If they can get the battery life up, probably navigation will add into the practical uses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *