Mid-summer, Google introduced its Google Glass to what they termed “Explorers.” This early adopter group wrote essays, composed songs and begged and pleaded as to why they should be one of the first 10,000 people to receive the Glass. With the most recent revision to Glass in late October, these early Explorers were given the opportunity to invite three friends to purchase one. I was one of the lucky people to receive such an invite. At $1,500, the Glass isn’t a cheap date, but it certainly showcases current technology, as well as what the opportunities will be in the wearable space.
So, what is Glass? Well, think of it as glasses with or without lenses (the second version adds both clear and dark lenses to look a bit less geeky) with a display that sits over your right eye, just above your line of sight. Embedded in the right temple is a speaker with a micro-USB jack (for charging and connecting to an earphone), an integrated touchpad to tap and swipe through the Glass menus and content, a microphone for voice control, and the processor and battery.
What Does It Do?
In short, Glass lets you do quite a few of the most common tasks you use your smartphone to do each day. Glass connects to your phone through Wi-Fi, or it can pair up with any Bluetooth enabled phone and use its 3G or 4G data. Features include:
- Web searching and surfing
- Taking photos and videos via an integrated camera
- Getting directions (very useful)
- Sending voice text messages
- Making phone calls
- Getting everything from sports scores to weather to your questions answered
Think of Glass as a heads-up browser/smartphone with superior voice command control.
How Does It Work?
Most functions are controlled through a combination of taps on the touchpad and your voice. A tap wakes up the glass and shows the current time. “OK Glass” (you will get very used to this one) starts any voice command. So, “OK Glass, Today’s Weather” brings up not only a visual of local weather (GPS helps to narrow), but also the extended forecast along with a voice that says, “It’s 38 degrees with overcast skies and a chance for rain tonight.” Swiping on the touchpad takes you to visual forecast and a swipe downward takes you back to a home card screen.
A press of the button above your right eye takes a picture using the integrated camera. A menu in the display shows you the photo and allows you to share it by saying, “Share with Facebook”. You can even speak the update to accompany the picture and away it goes. The photo and status uploads to Facebook without raising a finger.
Possibilities are limitless. For example, before giving a presentation, I experimented with loading the presentation to Glass to act as a teleprompter of sorts for viewing my slides as I spoke to them. Very cool.
With a week under my belt using Glass, it has become quite intriguing to keep testing its limits. Many have tried them on and had fun playing with searches, trying to stump Glass, taking photos and more. The “Guest Mode” can be turned on when lending them to your friends. Overall, it’s been a great experience thus far and I am looking forward to seeing what else Glass can do. More to come in future articles and if you see me at meetings or other events, don’t be shy about asking to try them out. If you have questions about Glass, drop me a note or follow me on Twitter @MelterBFDS.