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Google Glass and NYC: A New Explorer’s First Take

In July, 2013, I flew to Manhattan to pick up Google Glass for Quality Logo Products as part of the Glass Explorer program. It was awesome.

Let’s back up for a minute before I talk about that, though. I’ve got some explaining to do!

Are you wondering what in the world this Google Glass thing is? No problem, and you are not alone! Long story short, it’s a computerized pair of glasses that allows users to search the web, check social networks, take photos or videos, access turn-based navigation, and more. It’s operated by the touch pad on the right side and it also responds to voice commands.

I’ll let the masters explain it in more detail:

See? It’s pretty much space-age stuff! So naturally, I got right to it when my boss told me Google was accepting applications for a pair through the Glass Explorer program. We agreed that it would be cool to have a pair for the office, so I applied according to their guidelines and kept my fingers crossed.

It went something like this:

Google Glass Explorer contest entry

I wasn’t expecting to hear anything from Project Glass, but I was pleasantly surprised! After waiting a few more months for pick-up availability, I flew out to their New York (Chelsea Market) location.

I loved seeing Google’s NY headquarters. The atmosphere was just as cool as I’ve always been led to believe, and every single employee donned a pair of Glass. I was assigned to an employee, received a brief tour (and got offered my choice of regular or sparkling water and chocolate covered strawberries), and then got a crash course in Google Glass. The unboxing was the best part, though!

Google sign 2

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My Google Glass representative helped me through the entire process and explained everything to me in detail, from the included accessories to the actual functionality. The device operates via a touch pad and voice commands, and I learned how to do both (and managed to take a few landscape shots of the Chelsea Market area from Google’s office space).

Even for a technically challenged person like me, the Glass responded well and I got the hang of the commands pretty quickly. I have no doubt in my mind that anyone could use them after a brief tutorial!

I know, it might sound unnecessary when you first hear about it. Although Google Glass may seem like nothing more than a rich person’s toy, it can actually do some amazing things and it’s opening all kinds of doors for photographers and athletes. Unlike traditional cameras or smartphones, Glass takes pictures and video from a first-person perspective and it’s hands-free when using the voice commands. The result? Media like you’ve never seen before.

Observe:

See? You wouldn’t get any pictures or video like that from a standard camera or cell phone, that’s for sure.

Now, I’m the first to admit that I’m not the most tech-savvy person on the planet. So even though I think Google Glass is fascinating, I’m not exactly qualified to make detailed statements about their pros and cons. That’s why I got our two IT experts involved and asked them to provide their initial thoughts. Here’s what they came up with!

An IT Department’s Thoughts on Google Glass:

Opinion 1: Jenkins

  1. For starters, to unlock the full potential of Glass, an Android phone and tethering is a must. This will allow you to access data anywhere.
  2. The Android market has an app for Glass that lets you fully control it from your smartphone (as opposed to manually logging in to the Google Glass website). I haven’t been able to test the Android app just yet because it requires Google+ on the phone.

Regarding the battery:

  • Under constant use it will die quickly. But it’s a small battery, so what do you expect? It charges from 10% power to full power in about 20 minutes, though.
  • They are already making accessories to extend the battery life. One company is making a headband design (a strap to hold Glass in place) that is also a battery extender. It’s supposed to extend 50 minutes of record time to 3 hours of record time.

What Google Glass is missing:

  • I would love to have an LED light on the front of Google Glass. “Ok Glass… Flashlight” would be awesome. A flash for the camera would be helpful, too!
  • Camera zoom (if it is there, then I haven’t figured it out yet).
  • From my understanding, there is a whole new world to Glass once you connect it to your phone via the Glass app. I can’t wait to see what that brings to the table.

Opinion 2: Jason

  1. Least favorite thing about Glass: How featureless it is.
  2. Favorite thing: Its potential.

Regarding the device as a whole:

The first Android device just had a Google search bar, but now Android is a full-blown pocket computer with social networking, app stores, navigation, etc. The Glass of today will evolve: Silicon will get smaller and maybe vendors will even make their own versions. But for the current Glass, I was disappointed in how limited the Android pairing is and how much they focused on the Google+ integration. I understand that text messaging is service provider-specific, so a texting app is tough to do, but with Glass it doesn’t make sense why my Android can’t be a 100% touchless device. The Glass Android app has a way to display what is on the Glass screen on the Android screen, but it should be the other way around. I should be able to pull up my Android’s screen on the Glass, and then use speech to do whatever I want by just saying, “Ok Android…”

What it is missing:

One thing I am looking forward to with Glass is Augmented Reality. With AR I can be driving down the road, merely look at a restaurant and Glass will pull up the menu, reviews, cost, etc. How about if surgical doctors wearing the Glass can see live x-rays of what they are working on in the middle of surgery. I’m pretty excited for the potential, it’s not there yet, but we will get there soon enough.

Many of our other QLP employees were really excited to check them out, too (we even brought them to our summer party and documented some of the fun):

Just look at those stylish people…

Don’t worry, we’ll have more on Google Glass in the future! For right now, though, we’re having fun figuring out all of their uses and allowing our employees to explore with them. Stay tuned for more updates as we get them!

Have you seen Google Glass? What do you think are the best/worst features? Anything you’d like to add?

Expand Your Brand!



Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. Jill writes for the QLP blog and assists with the company’s social media accounts. You can connect with Jill on Google+.

Comments

  1. QLP Kid

    Awesome article! I cannot wait for Google Glass to be more readily accessible for us consumers!

    -QLP Kid

    “It’s how the Midwest was won…”

  2. Jenkins

    Love the post!

  3. Wash

    I’m really interested to see what kind of first-person recordings some people are going to document. There are many places in the world that I’ll never visit, and I think a first person video of some of these places will help me live vicariously through the Glass wearer.

  4. Tom

    Couldn’t agree more with Jason’s comments, the potential is crazy!

  5. Candace

    I know I would use it everyday! I can’t tell you how many times I have thought to myself “I wish I had my camera with me”! Especially when trying to capture those special milestones :)

  6. The Top Quality Logo Products Blog Posts of 2013

    [...] of our blog authors was picked to be in the Google Glass Explorer program and went to New York to pick up the glasses. QLP has had a great time using and experimenting with the [...]

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