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A few months back, I received a Tweet letting me know I would become a Glass Explorer, and become one of the first people to experiment with Glass. I submitted a short application that consisted of a Vine video of the amazing view I have from my office at Taylor Strategy on the 38th floor of the Empire State Building. Google got in touch with me via Twitter DM, and I setup an appointment to visit the Glass Lounge in Chelsea for my orientation. I was invited by Google to “bring a friend,” so I grabbed my fellow Taylor tech enthusiast Amanda Lordy and headed downtown.
When the elevator doors opened, we were greeted by two Googlers wearing Glass in an all white space. It felt like the future I imagined as a kid in the 80’s. I was impressed that my Glass Guide conducting my fitting and training was an engineer who worked on the project, not someone from corporate comms or the PR team. We got to geek out on some of the technical specs and challenges in creating a device like this.
We jumped right into setting it up to grab data via Wi-Fi, tether it to my phone and link up my various social accounts. It was a very simple process. Within an hour I had my Glass setup, hooked up to my corner of the web and had a good understanding of how to activate the basic functions
I’ll get into the functionality later, but first I want to share some insight into what it’s like walking around NYC with a bit of the future strapped to your forehead for everyone to see.
It took about three minutes, while waiting for a Nutella crepe, for a stranger to ask, “what is that?” We had a conversation that has become very common whenever I am wearing Glass. Most of the time I just let them try Glass out themselves. I have developed a decent spiel to explain what Glass is, but I think answering the questions I have gotten from curious people is the most informative. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked, with my answers. This is a good way to help clear up any misconceptions about what Glass is and does
What IS that?
It’s Google Glass. It’s a wearable computer.
Where did you get that?
I applied to Glass Explorer program. They selected a group of people to test the device. They will likely be available to the public in mid/late 2014.
What does it do?
Surf the web and run Google searches. Make phone calls, send text messages and check your email. Post on Facebook and Twitter. Takes pictures and records video. Scans bar codes and QR codes. Pops up maps if you’re lost. Helps you translate languages. It’s possible to do a GlassCast, which is a first person Google Hangout.
Where’s the screen?
It projects what you are seeing in front of your eye, so whatever you are looking it appears to be hovering it space about three feet into the distance.
Does it use voice commands?
It does. You can speak your commands, like “Ok Glass, Take a Picture,” or use hand gestures on the touchpad to control it.
Is it heavy?
No, it’s extremely light. It weighs 50g. You actually forget you are wearing it after a while.
How does it connect to the web?
Via Wi-Fi or you can tether it to your phone.
Are you recording me?
No. It only records when you tell it too, it isn’t constantly pulling everything in. If someone is recording you with Glass, you’ll see the screen light up.
Where do the photos and recording go?
They are stored locally, and then synced to a private folder linked to a Google+ account.
Are there apps?
There are a small number of apps so far. Facebook. Twitter. Evernote. Reddit. The NY Times. Elle. More are being created and released every few weeks.
Are you a cyborg?
Not yet, but the Singularity approaches.
Can I try it?
We have been putting together some interesting strategies for Glass here at Taylor, which we’ll be sharing soon. Stay tuned.