While I was working on my first post about the potential of Google Glass, I imagined that if there were a time to apply for Glass Explorer Invite, there would be no better time than right then. I looked into the Glass Program website, and found that while there were limited invites being released, they were still allowing new members to the program. I immediately applied two days after New Year's Eve. A few weeks later, I was submitting my headshot and biography, when Friday, January 24th, I received the email granting me a chance to buy Glass. With a weekend to consider my needs and uses, and its price tag, I decided to break bad and pick up Glass.
I scheduled my Glass Explorer appointment for the following Wednesday at 1:00PM at the New York City Google Glass headquarters located in Chelsea Market. Per the instructions included in my appointment reminder email, I brought my ID, confirmed Bluetooth tethering on my iPhone, and invited a friend to join me as a guest. As I exited the elevator on the eighth floor, a few Google employees wearing Glass passed me, and immediately, I became excited to be joining their ranks. My appointment lasted only forty minutes, plenty of time to go over the commands, interface, and orientate me with the overall program. My Glass guide also introduced the iOS application, MyGlass, which is used to add Glassware, Glass-specific applications and manage Wireless Networks, among other things. The most critical distinction that he gave of Glass was the device's standby time. When the device is not actively being used, i.e. its touch interface isn't being used, it will wait five seconds for voice command, after which it will go to standby. Furthermore, when the device's camera is in use, its screen is illuminated either displaying the still photograph it just captured or the video that is currently recording. More simply, he defined Glass as "there when you need it, but off when you're not using it." He was even able to explain it all quickly enough that my friend even had time to use Glass. The orientation left such a great impression that we decided to celebrate with beers over lunch, shortly after.
While I must admit that my use of Glass wasn't crisp at first, despite how simple the voice commands are to remember and the touch gestures are to perform, it has become much better over the first month. In terms of basic device use, Glass has three main gestures to interact with the "touch pad" interface along the right frame of the device, reaching from cheekbone to ear.
• Simply tapping the touch interface performs the action of clicking, either providing more options or confirming an on-screen action.
• Swiping either forward or backward, navigates the options right by the former and left by the latter.
• Scrolling downward on touch interface goes backward a screen, so it can be used to return to the home screen or cancel clicking.
In order to browse, the user places two fingers along the touch tab with his head and neck at their normal position and crane's their head downward to look down the page and leans their head backward to scroll upward. After watching a brief video, I was able to nail down this last gesture in a few seconds and I now feel comfortable showing friends how to use Glass.
Explaining what Glass' capabilities becomes challenging or complicated to be more accurate. Many people, businesses and individuals, became concerned about privacy issues, when Glass was first announced. I will be the first to say that due to the both visible physical use of the device and audible voice command use, those concerns should be put to rest. While I'm actively using Glass, I either look like Cyclops from the X-men or a crazy person talking to myself, repeating the same words, otherwise it returns to standby. When someone asks me what I do for work or what I use Glass for, I kiddingly reply, "I work for the NSA," an answer that most people see through and deflates the tension of me maliciously using Glass. While most are curious to how they work, which I can easily display by Bluetooth tethering my phone with Glass to screencast exactly what I'm using them for at the moment, some businesses reacted quite differently. When I walked into a Fatburger in Murray Hill, I was greeted quite graciously by inquisitive employees, who were interested in Glass as possible users themselves, yet, when I entered a Starbucks, also in Murray Hill, I was immediately told to take them off, before I even ordered.
So far, Glass has improved my life tremendously and I couldn't be happier that I made the decision to join the Explorer program. There are a few applications that I hope to try out in the next week and I also hope to put together some code for at least one application idea. I will post about future use, interactions, and applications regularly as I use Google Glass more.
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