Glass on Glass - A quick overview
I’ve been asked to write up some of my thoughts on Google Glass, so I’ll break it down into two mini posts. The first being a general overview of what I like and dislike about Glass & the details of using Glass with an iOS device and next I’ll talk about using it with a fully supported Android device (once my new Nexus 5 arrives and I get it all set up to use).
What I like
Instant access to my incoming feeds (mail, news, twitter, etc) is very nice. I love having it chime and show me a quick preview of an item, letting me choose to act upon it or ignore it.
Sharing what you see is also a plus. Taking a quick picture and tweeting it all without touching the device is pretty slick. Sometimes not all that useful, but it is an interesting concept.
The weight of the device is also very pleasant, it’s not as heavy as I thought it would be and it’s rather comfortable to wear. The heads up display or “hud” doesn’t seem to get into the way too much (more on that in a bit).
What needs improvement
Battery life is my number one complaint, it seems to only get about 4-5 hours of use before it starts complaining that it needs to be charged. To me, one thing that seems like it kills the battery life the most is that the device activates when you move your head up above 30 degrees from horizontal. Now, every time I take a drink of something, the device activates for a brief moment. I can’t imagine that is good for battery life.
The 30 degree activation is my next complaint, it seems to be done from horizontal. This means that it doesn’t take into consideration that you may be reclining or leaning forward. For example, say you were sitting down with your elbows on your knees. Like on the bleachers at a sporting event. Now, when you try to activate Glass, you must still break that 30 degree from horizontal mark, which in turn makes you stretch your head way up to meet that goal.
There’s also the case of leaning back in a recliner or while driving a low riding sports car. In this case, your head is already leaning back due to the position you are in. This will again cause the hud to activate way too often.
I have checked with local law enforcement and the general conclusion is as long as it’s used hands free and I don’t look at the hud it should be considered the same as any other Bluetooth Headset. However, I have found that I can’t drive with Glass at all due to it activating at random times based on my position in the vehicle. It’s also very unwise to drive with it at night. The light sensor can think it’s daylight when a car passes you from the opposite direction causing it to light up a little too much. It can be a little blinding.
My final complaint is the lack of ability to accept WiFi ToS from the device. I took it into a local Panera Bread to show it to a local reporter and was stunned to find that the WiFi would connect but the ToS never appeared. This made the device pretty useless since it couldn’t be configured. The normal way to configure protected wifi is to use the MyGlass app or their site to generate a QR code, then have Glass read that code to configure itself. But since there was no way to “configure” it, the device was basically disconnected.
Being an avid iOS user, Glass is not really much more than a glorified Bluetooth headset. It is interesting that I can read, reply and delete emails. I can tweet, share on G+, etc.. But I have to have it on WiFi at all times. Even when I setup the Personal Hotspot on my iPad, it tends to lose it’s connection and I have to wake the iPad to make Glass connect again. It’s also pretty cumbersome to have to carry my iPad 3 around just to use Glass. (I could have done it on my phone, but I’m on VZW which means that I can’t surf and talk at the same time. This would have screwed with my phone calls).
The first few days I used it I did experience a bit of a headache as my eye was trained to look at the hud. After using it for a few days this seemed to disappear.
I have enjoyed wearing it around the house and using it as an alternate source of information. It’s nice to read tweets & email, but I have had to change my desk a little. My monitors are positioned so that the top of them are about 30 degrees from my normal horizontal. This means that looking at the status bar will activate Glass. Lowering them has helped a little but it still gets in the way at times. I also wear contacts, I have been able to wear Glass with my normal glasses, but it’s very uncomfortable and doesn’t sit well on my head.
My Nexus 5 just arrived this week and I’m in the process of setting it up so that I can use it (mostly). Just a few minutes of testing it with Glass has shown me that it’s going to be a little nicer to use. More info on that in the next post.