Check-in with Google Glass
Questions, They got questions. I got a check-in email from Glass support and the questions were good, but since I am who I am, I wish I could have said more for each response, although they did give text boxes for about half the questions. Luckily, that is what blogging is for.
- How satisfied are you with Glass? Extremely. This was a multiple choice question that showed scale. I am very pleased, but I’m not jumping up and down with joy yet. I use Glass daily and when I do venture out without it, invariably feel chagrin over a missed shot or the lack of unobtrusive access to email and text. I am not glowing with satisfaction though, which is what the response sounds like.
- Would you recommend Glass to a friend? Yes. The real answer is “Yes, but…” I am very positive about recommending Glass, but it depends on who. A certain subset of people who self-identify as early adopters are the best bet, the ones who don’t expect a new device to be everything and do everything. Glass is truly beta, and I honestly love the Google approach to beta testing, which I call the long beta. Google keeps things in beta for an incredibly long time and makes many, many little corrections along the way based on user behavior, user desires, or user feedback. So, I was not expecting Glass to be what newspaper and magazine reports said it would be because they always get it wrong anyway. In the less than six months I’ve had Glass, several small yet helpful upgrades have occurred, and I expect that to continue. Is it ready to be embraced by the general public? No.
- What do you like best about Glass? It makes everyday tasks more convenient, easier. It also helps me stay on top of things while not interrupting. I now can do intensive research reading in the afternoons without worrying that each new email is a “must act on NOW” email. Glass brings email right to me, but it also sorts using the “important mainly because it was sent directly to you” marker. As long as you teach Gmail what is truly important to you by adding and deleting this marker, Glass will only note emails that are honestly from people instead of ads or something else that is not time sensitive.
- What, if anything, do you find frustrating or unappealing about Glass? Well, it is still fairly ugly and noticeable. I have the prescription frames, which look better than the device on its own, but I still get strange looks from health professionals who wonder if it is a new assistive device for the blind or mentally slow. I actually wrote this as my response. Glass has a new level of ugliness only matched by braces during the pre-polio vaccine years. They are adding new prescription frames, but that does not change the ugliness of the base unit. On the bright side, this is the first time I can honestly say that those who wear glasses have a real advantage over those who don’t. Of course, some may ask whether or not looks matter and if I am being a wee bit superficial. My response is that the secret to a device like this is how it doesn’t call attention to itself. It should just let one go about one’s daily work without shouting–Hey! Advanced and geeky device here, ready to ridicule or steal. That just gets in the way of the efficiency Glass is meant to deliver.
- Has your experience with Glass improved over time? I love Glass more every day. Keep it up! Clearly a multiple choice response, but the other choices were not good choices for me. I do like Glass a little bit more each day, but mainly because I am slowly getting better at using it. I also like it better as time goes on because Glass itself is getting better through the incremental changes due to upgrades and new glassware. For example, the battery life is almost at a usable level now. An example of new glassware I wanted very much was the new list glassware that lets me create and add to a shopping list that sorts itself into categories based on where the items are in the store. Oh, I really wanted this. No more phone fumbling or lost paper lists.
- What features would you like to see for Glass? I would love some way to enter a bare-bones appointment into Google Calendar verbally through Glass. I can go in and tidy it up later on my computer or iPad. Notes and Evernote cut me off before I am finished with the note. Emails also are phrasal, and I really miss having minimal punctuation. That was my response, but I shied from saying why punctuation was so necessary for me. As English faculty, the thought of an email reply going out without a period at the end of sentences just makes me almost faint. The result is that I don’t give the instant replies that Glass is capable of nearly enough. I can be brief enough that commas aren’t needed, but a sentence without an end-stop? That cannot be, and the tag, “Sent from Glass” doesn’t make up for it–not enough. On the plus side, the voice recognition is very good and gets spelling right. I’m hoping Google can do this.
Over all, Glass gets a good report card from me. I’m still using it and don’t see Betamax syndrome happening any time soon. However, if Glass is intended to be a mainstream device, Google needs to poach some Apple designers and make Glass unobtrusive, yet beautiful.