Google Glass is now being shipped and the first recipients have quickly begun unwrapping their prized new $1,500 possessions, setting them up and starting to use them in their daily lives, while excitedly posting their impressions on social media sites.
Several of the first Glass users, including Brandon Allgood, the chief technology officer of a data analytics company, and Dan McLaughlin, a software engineer, shared their experiences on their Google+ pages, detailing how the eyewear-mounted glasses work and perform.
“I wore Glass all day today,” wrote Allgood in an April 17 post. “It was light and didn’t bother me to do so. The battery truly lasted all day.”
Allgood lauded the speech-to-text functions of Glass and also said that while most-co-workers were excited about seeing the device up close, “some were a little uncomfortable about it. Overall, the reaction has been positive and people aren’t bothered by me wearing it in meetings and such. I do live in Silicon Valley, so your experience may differ. “
Allgood also wrote that he was impressed with the bone-conduction system that transmits sounds from the device through the wearer’s bones. “There was no problem hearing things with background noise although people near you can also hear it,” he wrote. “No listening to the game in a meeting!”
In a phone interview, Allgood told eWEEK that so far, after some 36 hours of using Glass, he already loves them.
“It’s definitely one of those things that is going to be habit-changing,” said Allgood. “People, when they first get new electronic devices, they carry them around a lot. My habits are already definitely starting to change. Normally, when I need to do something, I would run to my computer. But now I don’t have to. I can do it on Glass. It’s transformative.”
What’s most impressive so far, he said, is using the Google Now service through Google Glass. Google Now, which Google introduced in June 2012, presents information through a series of flip-through “cards” that are visible on the screen of Android mobile devices, providing a different piece of information on each card. The cards appear on Android mobile devices at the moment they are needed by users, such as the train schedule card appearing when they are heading to the local train station.
With Glass, Google Now information arrives on Allgood’s device without him having to do anything, he said.
“It’s right there visibly for you” on the eyewear-mounted screen, he said. “I get up in the morning and I turn on Glass and there’s the traffic report for how I get to work. I never told Glass where I was going. It just knows that yesterday I went to this place and spent the day. Around quitting time, it assumed I was going back home.”
Even the score of the San Francisco Giants game was being updated live on his Glass device throughout the night, he said.
McLaughlin, the software engineer, told eWEEK in a phone interview that he is similarly enthralled with his Glass device so far.
Google Glass Users Taking to the Web to Share Glass Experiences
“It’s quite different than what we’re used to using,” said McLaughlin. “The funny thing I’ve been finding with it is that after using it for a short time, it starts to become a part of you, while a cell phone doesn’t do that. It’s a much more intimate form of information coming to you. It definitely takes a little getting used to. As a user, I notice it becoming much more of an extension of me.”
One feature McLaughlin likes already is that emails pop up on the screen within his peripheral vision, letting him know who the messages are from and displaying the first couple of sentences so he can see if they are something he has to address quickly. “This morning I got a couple of emails and here it just flashes up briefly, and then I get a sense of it and I can say OK, I can check on it later,” he said. “That was amazing. I really enjoyed that.”
Both Allgood and McLaughlin also described some features about Glass that still need more work.
Presently, there are only a very limited number of apps that are available to use with Glass, said Allgood, including Google+, Gmail and the mobile social media platform Path. Also available are the built-in photo and video features, he said, but a wider range of available apps are needed to expand the possibilities for Glass users, he said.
Another limitation, according to Allgood, is that Glass doesn’t offer all its capabilities to Apple iPhone users who want to sync their Glass device to their phones. The included MyGlass app only works presently with Android phones, which means that iPhone users can’t yet use their phone’s GPS and Short Message Service (SMS) features with Glass.
As an iPhone user, Allgood said he’s still debating whether he’ll wait for an iOS version of the MyGlass app or buy a cheap Android phone to use with Glass.
McLaughlin wrote in his Google+ post that the biggest problem he’s having with Glass so far is that they interfere somewhat with his prescription eyeglasses, which he must wear. “While small wireframe glasses (I have a pair) do work fairly well with glass, they’re not perfect,” he wrote. “And I can’t swap in and out a pair of computer frames easily. So I’m struggling with this presently.
“Option one is to remove Glass from its frame (not hard) and attach to my Glasses. Option two is to wait for the Glass prescription version. Version three is to use contacts, with computer glasses swapped in when I’m working. So this is a rather big issue for me I’m still working through; I’ll detail my findings going forward,” McLaughlin continued in his post.
Meanwhile, not everyone who bought a Google Glass device, however, planned on using it for themselves, according to a report from Forbes.com. At least one Google Glass buyer has already tried to sell a pair on eBay but came up against Google’s rules that forbid the sale or loan of the devices, reported Forbes.com. The auction for Glass had soared to $95,300 before the alleged seller realized that Google’s terms of service didn’t permit such a transaction, the story stated.
Google Glass Users Taking to the Web to Share Glass Experiences
Those rules say, “If you resell, loan transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google’s authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the Device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the Device will be entitled to any refund, product support or product warranty.”
The auction was ended, and the buyer apparently said he’ll keep his Glasses when he receives them.
Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google says is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also boast a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to the wearer through their bones, using a bone-conduction transducer that previously had been revealed in earlier reports.
Glass also includes WiFi 802.11b/g connectivity, Bluetooth and 16GB of memory, of which 12GB is usable and synced with Google’s cloud storage. The battery that powers Glass is expected to provide a typical day’s use, while some activities, including heavy use of Google+ Hangouts and performing video recording, will deplete the battery more quickly.
Glass comes with its own dedicated micro USB cable and charger. Glass is built to be compatible with any Bluetooth-capable phone, while its companion MyGlass app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher.
Another Glass user, Monica Wilson, is so excited by the initial release of the devices that she posted an invitation on Google+ for Glass users in the San Francisco area for a gathering at a local watering hole. “Anyone in SF want to do a glass meetup/happy hour on Sat. Ping me with details? I will be working on a ruby wrapper for mirror-api,” wrote Wilson.
The Glass project was unveiled officially for the first time to developers who attended the annual Google I/O Conference in July 2012. In February, Google expanded its nascent test project for its Glass eyewear-mounted computer by inviting interested applicants to submit proposals for a chance to buy an early model and become a part of its continuing development. In March, Google also began notifying a pool of applicants who were selected to purchase the first 8,000 sets of Google Glass when they become available for real-world use and testing later this year by consumers. Those selected applicants will also have to pay $1,500 plus taxes, and will pick up the first-generation “Explorer Edition” devices at special events that will be set up in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles in the coming months.
Google Glass is not expected to be widely available to consumers until 2014, according to the company.
Earlier this month, Google’s investment arm, Google Ventures, launched a new “Glass Collective” organization to seek out and nurture startups that can add features and capabilities to the Glass project.
In March, it was reported that the head-mounted Glass devices would be assembled in Santa Clara, Calif., by well-known Taiwanese device builder Foxconn to showcase electronics manufacturing capabilities in the United States.