Finally I had the chance to test Google Glass personally. Our school had visitors from a company called Monitise (formerly Pozitron) who brought us three Google Glasses. Before I start sharing my experiences I’d like to send my special thanks to Monitise since they spent a whole day in the school introducing Google Glass to teachers and students although education is not their core business.
Until today I only had an idea of what Google Glass looks like and how it functions. I have read lots of articles regarding use of Google Glass but most of these articles were mainly about future possibilities and written in a futuristic way. Instead of talking about current capabilities of this technology they were focusing on future. So in this article I will try to avoid this and will try to draw a picture of what we have for today. In my next article I will share some ideas on how we can use Google Glass in education. So, let’s start.
When I first took it I felt the unbalanced weight. Since the hardware is located on the right side I thought it won’t feel nice when you wear it. To my surprise it didn’t matter much. The frame was designed in a way where you don’t feel like someone is pulling your right ear down. By the way I was informed that this frame is a new one but there are more options in frame choices.
Starting the Google Glass is easy. You can lift your head up to a certain degree (which you can change its setting later) or you can simply tap on the right side. When they told me to tap it I searched for a button but the right side of the G. Glass was a touch pad. With this pad you can swipe left, right and down in the menu. Swiping left and right makes you move on to next item and swiping down works like a back key. Here is the main menu;
It looks very simple right? Well, actually it is. I mean I was expecting a much more complicated home screen but before I continue with the menu let me finish physical appearance. The screen is carefully located so that it does not interfere with your sight. Its location is a little bit above your eyesight so you need to look up to see the screen. This is totally an intentional design. Google doesn’t want to add a virtual layer to what our eyes can see.
Google Glass screen occupies only a very small proportion of your right eyesight which makes some actions like taking photos easy but some actions like reading websites hard, almost impossible. I believe this is one of the most important principle in the development of this device. In the discussions I see that people assume it works like Terminator or a Robocop screen. The trend might be going to that way or maybe it is an expectation for some people today it’s not the case.
There is a built in microphone and speaker. I won’t give details about technical specs but you might want to get more info on how speaker works because it has a strange technology. The only problem is it doesn’t have a voice recognition feature yet. In a crowded place your Google Glass might suddenly work with another person’s command.
Ok, let’s get back to the menu. I shared the main menu above. You can see a “ok glass” message. This is your trigger to start Google Glass. When you say “ok glass” it acts like a soldier who stands at attention and ready to take orders. After “ok glass” you give a voice command like “take a picture”. The commands are limited. The system doesn’t work like Siri and it is not an advanced artificial intelligence… yet.
Although the voice commands are limited it is obvious that more are coming. By swiping left-right, down and by tapping the right side of the Google Glass you can reach other features such as weather forecast, system status, settings etc. Moreover you can reach applications like facebook or twitter. Google Glass has the Android operating system but the interface is different. This means you can make the Andorid apps work in Google Glass. Of course these apps are not the ones in Google Play Store but you got the idea. You might want to check the following website http://glass-apps.org/google-glass-application-list as an example.
Since our expectations from wearable technologies are nourished from sci-fi movies Google Glass is a little bit far away from fulfilling those but this is a start and I believe a good one. I hope it will be in the market soon and even if Google doesn’t make any improvements I will be one of the first owners because I see a great potential in this device.