Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Google Glass: One Week of Exploring

The Pickup

I picked up my Glass on June 29, in Venice Beach, CA but did not use it much that day due to other commitments so my exploring began on June 30. The pickup was uneventful and not as exciting as I had read in other Explorers accounts. I felt like I knew more about the device than my helper. She was kind and friendly, though, and my car was valet-parked, so that was good. I wanted to spend about a week as an end user so I wore it around and tried to get the apps working and get used to how to do things.

The Good Stuff

  • Glass is lightweight, well-made, and is not as noticeable to the public as I thought
  • Google Support for the Explorers is great, but my experience is that the Explorers know more about the device than anyone I have talked to at Google.
  • People are curious about it, and everyone I have met thinks it is cool. The FUD-mongers in the press warning about people getting angry at so-called "Glassholes" were wrong.
  • The Google Now app is great and if you are in the Google ecosystem you get a lot of function right away. This includes flight info, directions, weather, sports scores, finding places to eat, your email and calendar appointments and all of that.
  • G+ and GMail are great apps and work as you'd expect. Posting to G+ is easiest. Gmail only shows messages marked "Important" which is good, but needs to be kept in mind.
  • The CNN app for news is very good and send an appropriate amount of news.
  • Taking photos and videos is easy and creates some novel ways you can capture moments.
  • The Glass Explorers community on G+ and in the closed community Google has provided creates a camaraderie that is unmatched. One feels like a big diverse family!

The Not-So-Good Stuff

  • Connectivity: When Glass is connected, it is great. However, before going out with Glass you need to make sure it is connected to the phone via Bluetooth (BT) & have it tethered. At home it is connected via WiFi and works fine, but when going out it does not always stay connected. Half of the time, if I am showing it to someone, the screencast does not initially work because my phone and Glass have become un-paired. Unlike my other BT devices and the BT in my car, Glass is a bit fussy. I have an unlocked Google Nexus Phone, so this should work well.
  • Battery and Heat: After XE7 my Glass gets hot after a small amount of usage. Recording a 3 minute video will make it almost too hot to touch. The battery is an issue, but then we knew that. Some report all day usage, but I do not think they are interacting with it a lot.
  • The Other Apps: Twitter, Facebook, New York Times, and Evernote I have tried and they do not work well for me. Twitter took a lot of turning off and on and rebooting and then I could send tweets, but only with a photo, but I did not receive any tweets. Facebook never worked for me. Evernote throws a security error and I have not been able to authenticate with it. The NYT news app is terrible, sending dozens of cards daily with only one or two updates in each. They need to use bundles or have a better configuration screen. I confess that I did not try Elle, Path, or Tumblr yet so I cannot comment on those.
  • Accessories: The clear and tinted shades are fine, but for my money they should have included some sort of charging stand. I get worried when charging them that I'll set them down askew and mess up the prism.

Next Steps

I have started to set up the programming environment for Glass and try my hand at writing an app. I am not, by trade a programmer but I used to write some code (10+ years ago!) so getting the "Quickstart" examples working has been a challenge, but I think I will get there in the next few days.