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NYC with Google Glass

By:

Jason Clark
Jason Clark

on 12/28/2013

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Guggenheim – Christopher Wool Exhibit #throughglass

When Google Glass was delivered to our office, from the team I got either “oh no, the boss has jumped the shark” or “awesome, lemme see!”

I’m on the fence. Bluetooth earpieces make me cringe, and Google Glass definitely fits the bill for gadget freak super-nerd, but I remain intrigued for a few reasons:

  • It’s my company’s job to understand the direction that technology and communication is moving. Google is such a huge part of our lives now it is important to understand their motivations.
  • I love photography and the usefulness of app ecosystems. Having a hands free experience for both could be very exciting.

Our first test for Glass was in the wilds of New York City. I left with Kim and our 5 year old son for a short trip. I happily left the heavy Canon 7d back at the office, replaced only by my Nexus 5 and Google Glass. The experience was largely positive. Surprisingly I saw zero other people during the week with Glass. This meant that New Yorkers and tourists were excited to see it and wanted to chat about it, which I was happy to do. I even had a gentleman on the ferry to the Statue of Liberty make fun of all the folks staring by telling them I was a cyborg. Hah!

Here’s what I learned:

Pros:

  • Hands free is really useful for both navigating and video/photography. With a little more practice you could definitely get photos or video that couldn’t be captured any other way.
  • The navigation/maps app is brilliant and will only get better.
  • Search: Google continues to nail it. Voice recognition is solid and quite useful.
  • Screen quality: The screen is small but beautiful. I hope the apps that come along for Glass will take the small size into consideration. It could get crowded real fast. One complaint is that photos on the device’s screen have a distinct yellow tinge to them, but look fine otherwise.
  • People love this device and it’s potential. I met at least a dozen people every day that wanted to know how I like it so far. A great conversation starter, and will be for a long time.

Just met

Cons:

  • Its a fragile device. I was always nervous to put it away in my bag, which means it was on my head more than I preferred.
  • Don’t ever walk into a bathroom forgetting its on your face. Glares galore! I’m not saying this happened to me. ;)
  • Price. This feels more like a $300-500 gadget than the current price point.
  • Ecosystem: With only a handful of apps available, Glass will need a standout suite of apps to make it a must have.
  • I did miss my SLR camera. It will be a long time before device photography gets anywhere close to SLR quality. However, the ability to share your experience immediately with friends and family is equally important these days.
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Times Square #throughglass

Wish list:

  • Instagram. I love Instagram for travel and food porn photography. There’s not yet an app for that, and getting the UI right on such a small screen will be difficult.
  • Time lapse app. I’m sure this is on the way, but where video could be overkill I see great potential in a time lapse app that automatically created animated gifs or video.
  • Instant editing on the phone screen. Since it’s harder to frame a photo with Glass, being able to edit then share from your phone will be insanely useful. Right now the only photo options are “Share, Make vignette, and delete”.
  • Multiple accounts. My Google Music account is hooked up through my personal Gmail account, so I couldn’t test it out in the wild. Hrmph.

I’m interested in specialty hands free apps for different industries. I think this is where the real power of wearable devices will shine. Kim and I do our best to call each other out when we’re spending too much time with our gadgets and not our family. So when I’m getting texts delivered straight to my face it can exacerbate the issue.

NYC out. ~jason

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