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Through Glass: Feeling comfortable living in the future


Android Central

Second in our new weekly series about living with Google Glass.

'Are those the Google Glasses things?'

If you buy Google Glass, get ready to field that question. Every day. Im not sure whats more surprising at this point the number of people who can properly identify Google Glass, or the number of people who have no problem asking me to confirm their suspicion. Interestingly, a decent number of people I come across have said How do you like Google Glass? Ive seen a few people with those before.

Whether theyre scared about breaking it or just shy enough to not inquire, few people have actually asked to try Glass on. In any case, the interaction always ends up being a positive one. Everyone asks a few simple questions about how it works, what I see and of course how much it costs usually asked with a sense of intrigue and wonder that you just dont see from normal people around consumer electronics today.

Android CentralAnd for every person who has the courage to ask about my fancy headgear, another 20 have given me an interesting look as I walk down the street here in Seattle, sit at a restaurant or order my caramel mocha at Starbucks. As my girlfriend and I walked through the Pike Place Market last weekend on a crowded afternoon, she turned to me after a while and said, Do you realize that every single person we walk by has stared at Google Glass? Well, no, I didnt think it was every person ...

After a couple weeks of walking around the city with Glass, understanding that Im now that guy, I can actually experience what its like to live in the future.

At least at this point, the future is a bit of a mixed bag.

Im doing my best to wear Glass any time I leave the house, and for me that involves a lot of walking and public transit in the city. My primary use of Glass at this point has boiled down to just a few key things. First up is effectively effortless picture and video capture. Look, tap, speak, capture its faster than anyone will be able to take out their phone for a picture, and the resulting images are great to boot. Two more taps or a voice command and the picture is posted on social media.

Android CentralNext is directions. Beyond the inherent location service issues associated with being in a city with tall buildings and questionable cell service, Glass will get you where you need to go walking, and you wont run into people on the sidewalk while you do it. Transit directions, while useful, could use a little work. You can get a route overview and full directions, but Glass still assumes you have a general understanding of the metro system step-by-step information including route numbers would be a good start. If I was in another city and had to get from A to B on public transit, the information provided in Google Maps on my phone would be drastically more helpful.

Unfortunately Im finding notifications to be rather hit-or-miss. Whether its out of necessity with battery life or not wanting to distract the user, you really dont get all of the notifications you want or need. Seeing Google+ comments, Twitter mentions, SMS and some Gmail messages is useful, but I use more than those to communicate and keep up with life throughout the day. (And for the uninitiated, new notifications on Glass don't actually turn on the display in front of your eye. You do get a sound, though.)

I dont see every email, I dont see Hangouts at all, I dont see Facebook Messenger or Foursquare. Much of this comes down to app support and settings for what apps are already there, hopefully fixed with the impending release of the GDK, but the notification system clearly has a long way to go. As someone whos used to having a Pebble notify me for anything I want, I feel like Glass is just sitting idle on my head when it should be feeding me information.

Nobody ever guaranteed that the future would be wholesale more convenient than the present, right?

Android Central

The upcoming release of the GDK has me excited about the possibilities of Glass in the very near future. Just taking a look at the apps released along with a "sneak peak" of the developmentkit shows the real power of what Glass can do if developers have the proper tools.Google Music on Glass has piqued my interest as well, to say the least.

As for now, I'll be trying to get comfortable living in the future.

More from our Though Glass series ...

Phil Nickinson and Google Glass
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Through Glass: Learning to explore

by Phil Nickinson
Nov 23, 2013
First in our new series of weekly columns on how we're living with Google Glass. I feel like I should be exploring something, right? That's the whole point of this Google Glass "Explorer...


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