Yes, I admit it – I’m a technophile aka “nerd”, “geek” or perhaps a “neek”. I picked up the “Explorer Edition” of Google Glass when it became available to the public. I thought it might have some interesting applications in the medical field. I liked the idea of using it for navigation and I was curious to see what you could do with it. It’s a great concept and in many ways, it’s a great device. Here are some of my observations.
1) If you wear Google Glass in public, people notice the device and get worried that you’re recording them. There are perhaps hundreds of devices out now that can record or take photos that people carry with them including smartphones, watches pens, glasses, clip on cameras and various others. I think people feel uncomfortable around Google Glass because it’s so visibly recognizable by people not wearing it (it’s the opposite of covert).
2) People will stop and ask you about the device. You might get a group of people around you who are interested in knowing more about it so if you’re late for work, you might not want to wear Google Glass on your walk or you could find yourself a little running a bit more behind schedule.
3) You need to pair it with your smartphone – not only with Bluetooth but also Wifi. I found it challenging to pair with my iPhone’s personal Wifi network. It seems to lose the connection and then have trouble re-establishing connection to the network. What’s worse, you don’t even know that it’s not connected to your phone (or another Wifi network) until you try to use it. I’m not sure if that’s a problem inherent with Glass or perhaps the iPhone personal hotspot feature. It may work better with Android devices but I’m not sure.
If you’d like to connect with another Wifi network it’s not easy – you need to enter settings into glass and then create a QR Code in the Google Glass Application on your phone and then Glass takes a photo of the QR Code to get the information about your network stored.
4) It seems to lock up or not respond at times. One of the seemingly great things about wearable tech is that it’s ready to go whenever you want without having to pull it out of your pocket. If Google Glass would wake up whenever I wanted it to, that would be a good start! Sometimes it also decides to update itself without asking and during that time it is completely unusable.
5) Google advertises it as being a device that you can use all day long but I find that the battery dies quickly. If I use it regularly, it lasts about 3 hours. The battery also gets very warm with regular use.
6) At least at this point, you’re limited to only using Google’s Calendar – no other options. If you’d like to add all of your phone contacts to Google Glass it’s not easy or intuitive.
7) Scanning through the Google Glass timeline to find your photos, tweets (if you use twitter), missed calls, text messages or other data can be time consuming and difficult.
8) The audio quality is very poor. Google has tried to remedy this by giving you a little ear bud that you can plug in and put into one of your ears but this is not a great solution in my opinion.
9) The screen (glass that projects in front of your eye) has very low resolution and can be difficult to see in bright sunlight.
10) There are a very limited number of applications available (right now) to use on Glass. Applications that interact with Facebook or Twitter only allow you to post a tweet or record an update to your Facebook page. Be careful when taking a photo because it’s very easy to “accidentally” share it to your Facebook timeline or send it out as a Tweet.
11) Perhaps the best feature is the navigation. Having the Glass come up right in front of you is great but you need to have the Google Glass application open on your iPhone before you use navigation otherwise it won’t work. I can’t tell you how many times I asked Glass for directions only to be told to “Open the Glass Application on Your Phone.” So much for hands free.
12) There’s a “beta” feature right now on glass that allows you to take a picture if you wink. This is totally cool, if not a bit creepy but it doesn’t work all the time. This feature is in “beta” along with the rest of the device.
13) $1,500 for Google Glass more than what most people will want to pay. If the device worked 90% of the time, AND there were more things you could do with Glass AND more application support – ie. Facebook, Twitter, Medical applications (such as ePocrates), better audio, applications for music, etc. I would pay $500 for the device.
Is Google Glass ready for prime time? I think it’s a great device that has some real potential. You be the judge! What do you think about Google Glass – Post some comments and share your opinions.
Scott Rennie, DO