Thursday, December 12, 2013

Google Glass, First Thoughts


"I got the invite. OMG."

That sums up my first thought about Glass. Then came the sticker shock, the despair, the discussion with my wife, the angst, rapid discussion with many friends and finally, the purchase. If you want to read about what it's like just skip the next couple paragraphs.

Deciding To Buy Glass


I've always been fascinated with new technology and not just hardware. I signed up for Google Apps close to when it first went beta and the Chromebook beta. I turned on every experimental feature in Google Apps. I especially liked the ones that came with warnings, "This may break things. Use this escape URL if you can't get back in to Gmail." When Glass came along it was just a matter of time before I signed up.

After the invite I couldn't believe the price. At $1,500 this is the upper bounds of my discretionary spending. Before buying I thought about how I use it and how it would make my life any easier. I'm still thinking about it and I'm not sure the price is worth it.

Seeing the price for the first time was like a bucket of cold water thrown at me, it really tempered my enthusiasm to purchase Glass. My wife was not amused at this latest whim of mine. We could really use a lot of things (like a vacation) and Glass is not in her mind.

I was really torn whether I should buy it. On the one hand I love trying out new stuff but it's always been free or cheap.  This was (still is) an inner conflict between what I was willing to pay and new technology.

I talked to lots of people about it; family, friends, co-workers. Everything revolved around price. A typical conversation would run something like this:
Me: "I got invited to buy Google Glass"
Friend: "Really? Cool! Do it!"
Me: "It's $1,500"
Friend: "Oh. :("

I had seven days to purchase when I got the invite and it took four days to decide.

So What's It Like?

It's like nothing I've ever tried. I'm still not sure what to do with it. Take pictures, share them on Twitter or with my G+ Circles. That's OK but I'd like to do more. I'm a huge Evernote user and I use IFTTT so I'm eager to check out the apps for Glass.

It has made human interaction more awkward. "You're not looking at me", says my wife, while talking to her. Get a message from wife while at dinner, fumble with Glass to read it. Keep nodding head to shut the screen off and I have no idea what I look like doing that.

I was worried people would "self censor", that in the face of a device that can record everything you say and do without much notice people would act a bit differently but I haven't run into that yet.

I'm still not sure what to make of it. I thought writing about it would help but I still haven't decided: is this going to improve my life or is it just a toy?