Finally. Finally, last Friday morning I became a Glass Explorer. It’s been one hell of a wait. I can’t remember the last time I found myself so excited, frustrated, and following the hypebeast to the sheer point of madness, while I awaited my chance to try a new piece of technology. As I had hoped, finally putting on my Glass and experiencing that first moment of sheer “awe”, it was worth the wait.
My wife and I arrived in New York City Friday morning, following a day at the beach, celebrating the 4th of July. With a sunburnt back, we hiked from midtown New York City down to the Chelsea Market…that is until the unbearable heat go to the best of us, and we took a taxi the last 10 blocks. Having arrived about 30 minutes earlier than we thought, we decided to head on up to the 8th floor along with fellow Explorers Eric Cochran and his mom (she’s an Explorer too) whom we happened to meet along the way. Thankfully, Google allowed us to start our journey with Glass a bit early. With XE badges around our necks, we proceeded into the large open room to see Glass for the first time.
Christine lead us into the display area where I was able to try on all of the different Glass colors (Charcoal, Shale, Cotton, Sky, and Tangerine). When I ordered my Glass, I chose Charcoal as I figured it was the most color neutral and would go with everything, fashion-wise. However, upon trying all of them on, I made a bold decision. As a Glass Explorer, I feel it’s my job to tell the world about Glass. It’s my job to let everyone know about my experiences and spread the good word. To do this, I need a color that makes Glass stand out. Charcoal can’t do this. I decided to go with bold and beautiful Sky.
Next up was actually trying on my Glass. I wish my wife filmed my reaction. I was smiling and grinning from ear to ear that very first time I experienced Glass. Seeing the image projected in front of me for the very first time…that feeling…so beautiful…no words…should have sent a poet…and so forth come to mind.
My Glass Guide, Christine, was extremely helpful and polite. An absolute pleasure to be around. Later, I spoke with Matt and Theresa, whom were amazingly helpful as well. Everyone we met was so helpful and so nice. If the Glass Team doesn’t get a customer service award this year, I don’t know who will.
After learning how to use Glass for the first time, which was pretty ease thanks to my insane amount of reading and preparation (also called obsession) it was time to head out into the world and see what Glass can do. But first, I had to take my first photo from Glass. The same one that everyone takes, seen above.
Reactions to Glass
I’m amazed at the amount of people I’ve met in public that are excited and curious about Glass. While on the first floor of Chelsea Market, I had probably a dozen people either come up to me and ask about Glass or say “wow, he has Google Glass” as passing by. At one point 4 people were surrounding me, asking me questions. Sadly, I had to tell them I only had Glass for about an hour and I’m still a little green on the “what do you use it for” questions. When leaving Chelsea, one funny random guy yelled at me “ok glass”. It made me laugh. My first experiences in Glass were extremely positive.
The trend continued too. While across the street in a Starbucks, while waiting in line for the bathroom, a couple, about my age were very curious about Glass. As I was explaining to him how to use it, I accidentally took his picture, we both laughed, and then I deleted it (Glass with Class).
When my wife and I returned to her parents home on Long Island, I let everyone try on Glass. Some were a bit confused as to why we need this, and to be honest, I think that’s part of the reason of the Glass Explorer program. For us to find out what exactly what the hell these amazing pieces of technology can do. The next day I attended a family event. My wife’s cousins and my nieces and nephews were very excited to see Glass and hear all about it. The joy in their young voices was just amazing.
I wore Glass to work today for the first time. Nearly everyone in my office that saw Glass either tried it on or made fun of me in some way shape or form. The privacy and cyborg jokes happened, but overall, everyone was fine with it I believe. Those who tried Glass thought it was neat. While walking at lunch, a jogger excited yelled “oh my god Google Glass!” I loved it.
How do I use Glass?
The first few pieces of Glassware that I installed were found in the MyGlass app. The Google service ones, Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, Path, New York Times, etc. So now they’re installed. Now what? I soon found out that this wasn’t enough to use Glass. I don’t use Evernote. I use Google Keep. I have a Path account, but don’t use it. I have a Facebook account, but I use Google+. I use Twitter a little bit, but not enough to warrant any excitement. I use Friends+Me to cross post everything from Google+ to Facebook and Twitter, so I wasn’t entirely sure how much I needed those other apps but kept them installed anyways.
Still, I wasn’t getting much out of Glass. I was seeing mentions on both services show up, but if you’re only seeing mentions, it can get a little boring. I rarely use text messaging as I’m a Hangouts kind of guy. I do make a phone call or two from time to time and I do get emails through Gmail. Still, I thought there had to be more. And that’s when it hit me. I need to setup my notifications for Google+ and Twitter.
I created a circle on Google+ filled with people whose posts I don’t want to miss. I then subscribed to notifications for that circle. Boom! My Glass was blowing up with notifications each time one of these people posted something on Google+. Now we’re talkin’. I can now actively use Glass to +1 and comment on people’s posts. In similar fashion, I setup notifications for a few Twitter users and now receive their Tweets in my Glass Timeline. I can reply, favorite, and ReTweet. Now Glass has become a goto for staying up to date with social media posts.
This still wasn’t enough though. I don’t read the New York Times. I don’t watch CNN. The news apps available in the MyGlass App aren’t for me. Thankfully, Matt Abdou has a solution with Winkfeed. His app allows you to subscribe to various RSS Feeds and have them delivered to your Timeline. Right now, Winkfeed supports headlines to be read aloud to you or you can save them in Pocket for offline reading at your leisure. While Pocket is great, I don’t use it. Thankfully, Matt has informed me that in the coming weeks he’ll be adding Feedly integration. I’m excited.
As for the rest of the Glass uses, I’ve used Glass for a few phone calls and a few video calls. It works just as well as you would think. I had no problem hearing or seeing who I was talking to in normal noise level situations. If it’s noisy, the bone conducting speaker could be a little louder. I really don’t send text messages anymore. I’m more of a Hangouts type of guy. I’m hoping that Hangouts comes to Glass in a future update. XE7 added the ability to browse the web. So far, I’ve only done it a few times. It’s something that’s useful in a bind and watching YouTube is pretty cool, but right now I’d rather do my web browsing on my phone. I do love taking pictures with Glass though. It’s so simple and easy and the quality is amazing.
Everyone always wants to know about battery life. We’ve become conditioned in the mobile world to expect horrible battery life. It’s really hard for me to comment on battery life after just a short few days of usage. Especially while in the initial honeymoon phase with Glass. I’m using Glass all the time. So far, I’ve had to charge Glass twice a day, every day. Even while idle, Glass seems to sometimes chew away at the battery while other times it doesn’t. I’m sure as my use slows down a little and as the Glass Team rolls out more and more updates, the battery life will stabilize a bit or become better.
I have very high expectations for Glass. Over the past 3 days, I’ve been asked numerous times if Glass was worth the $1,600 price tag. I don’t know if I can answer that or if the same question and answer applies to everyone. I’m an early adopter when it comes to technology and a huge technology enthusiast (and a Google fanboy). For me, it was worth it.
Glass is cool right now. You can’t do a lot with it, but what you can do is pretty neat. Glass as a product keeps getting better and better with more features every month. App (Glassware) development is early on in development. Apps will become better as time goes on, apps will get more features and most importantly the quantity of Glassware will increase. Even if you only use Glass for notifications and taking pictures, it’s still cool.