I’ve been waiting for some time to really dive into my experience with Google Glass, I’ve also been waiting to settle into how I’ll use it everyday. But it’s clear that neither of those things are coming any time soon. So here’s my abbreviated take on Google’s leap into wearable tech.
You should know up front, I really want to like Google Glass. From the outside looking in, it looked like the future.
For the first twenty-four hours, I was really jazzed about it. It was new and shiny and the experience of picking it up in New York and using it was wholly unique. Taking pictures and recording video hands free using only voice commands was novel and fun. Walking around with it on your head garners instant, mostly positive attention, from both those who know what Google Glass is and those who just want to know what the heck you have on your face.
But then the new gadget high wears off, and I start to wonder where this fits into my life.
I’m still wondering.
In short, this is its biggest failing. I don’t think anyone really knows when and where in their day Google Glass is a natural fit.
I’m not sure Google started with “What do we want the experience to be?”, or “How do we want to improve people’s lives?” Instead, It feels like they started with “What if you could wear your computer on your face?” or maybe “What if you had 24×7 access to Google search (but couldn’t see or use the results very well)?”
I’m not sold on Google Glass being the future. Maybe a stepping stone to something bigger. But this is not how I want to interact with the digital world, or how I would bridge the digital and physical world, nor is it how I want to consume digital content.
I know I’m going to catch grief from fans for this, but most honest reviews end with something like “Once Google changes the form factor (maybe makes it a contact lens) and adds a better interface, then this is going to be fantastic.” So…the argument at large it seems is that after Google completely redesigns it, and someone dreams up a killer app, then it will be great. Well… I guess I agree with that.
Update: In the spirit of full disclosure, I have an iPhone with an unlimited AT&T data plan, which presents a tethering problem. Google wants you to call up your cell provider and have them enable tethering on your account. For someone like me, with a grandfathered-in unlimited data plan, this is a non-starter as I’d lose all the benefits of my plan—and pay more. Most carriers charge about $30 extra a month for tethering, which means over the course of just one year, you will pay an extra $400 just to have it work outside your home or office.
So these observations have been collected in wifi friendly places like home, the office, Starbucks, etc.
Glass has a companion app for Android (not currently available for the iPhone) that allows Glass to do two very important things—give you turn-by-turn directions and read/respond to your text messages. This companion application is only available for Android users. So as an iPhone user, I’m out of luck and I’ve never seen these features in action.