Riptide was part of the Explorer Beta program and if I had published this feedback before, it would have been for other Explorers, really. Now that Google has released, my honest feedback from my personal Beta thoughts are below. Let me say first to caveat my frank criticism, I think Google Glass is an incredibly cool technology and device. I am grateful for the work that got it to the place where we all can get involved. Also, I am certain that I understand the third wall, I can suspend my disbelief, and I can be on the other side of my own temporal provincialism. Anthropologically, I can understand the context of me as part of an older generation in 2014. Here at Riptide, one of our developers was asked to participate—as many are. I was the fourth of my colleagues to reset the factory settings, put them on, and make them “my glass.”
I can say firstly that part of the difficulty in understanding exactly what Google Glass is gets very convoluted if you are not entirely familiar with all of Google’s products. The Glass makes you a hamster released on the Habitrail of Google services. Some old hamsters have brains that want to understand the purpose and meaning behind things. Does an average consumer today have time to do Facebook and Google plus? I think this is one of the timely and relevant business queries. Having recently switched to a Google phone, I am in the process of transitioning to the services anyway. If I were to use Google services as my cloud home base, I would want to keep my concerns separated. I have a professional and a personal life and I like to understand that there is a line between them. I know, it is a Cro-Magnon concept but some people want to do that. Google does offer a way to have this separation extending on to my mobile device.
My world is e-learning and I am brainstorming for the seed that will become a Glass App for learning. I have many ideas and hope one will become a project. While at a recent tech meetup, I discovered that those aspiring developers wearing the glass constantly in order to bond with it are called “glassholes.” I think I would prefer calling it “method glassing” but first to name it often gets to claim it.
As a person who has been waiting since I was seven years old for the wrist computer that Elroy Jetson owned, I think I would be happier with the Samsung Gear and I might just do that next. The proper name for a wristwatch is chronometer. It gives one the visual picture that time is this massive fleeting thing and you monitor time in its different atmospheres and zones with your ergonomic wrist device. I think it follows that we should call the smart watch a technometer. I do not recall the visionary science fiction writers of the 20th century exploring the viability of a TV screen positioned above my right eye. But I can see some use case where the Glass could be helpful.
The Glass puts a weird look on my face as I am looking up into the monitor and I have experienced the feeling that I am in the Glass; it takes my field of vision in a way that I cannot see in front of my face. In fact, at times when you are walking and you are looking away and up into a monitor, it can give you the feeling that you are about to trip when looking and walking. Yes, I can chew gum and walk. But the vertigo is real. These same phenomena happened while driving as well. The HUD in the windshield seems safer when I consider the lowest common denominator of distracted individual driving with the Glass.
I handed the Glass to my 11-year-old son and he jumped right into it, walked away, sat on the couch while calling out commands to it, which commands I know do nothing. The interface is confusing that way. When you see the “quoted” words and you obediently speak them, more often than not, nothing happens. I showed my son a couple of cool things that I could do with the Glass one day, then handed the Glass to him the next day and just left it with him. I did this two separate times and after the second time I asked what he thought of the Glass. He said, “it is frustrating”, and “the screen gets blurry.” I started to discuss the ergonomics with him; you get used to the image, the option of remote tech, etc., and he said “Daddy, I don’t want to talk technology right now.” From the sound of my son’s inflection, I think he was genuinely frustrated.
What thinks you Google? I wear glasses and I want to put them on my face and leave them there. The bridge of the nose is a very sensitive area and because there are times when I cannot speak to my Glass, very often I have to tap and swipe at my Glass. So, with the Glass, my technology frustration is exacerbated by the Chinese water torture happening on the bridge of my nose. The frustration that happens when dealing with technology is unavoidable. No matter the device, you are going to have that moment best depicted by the ‘90s GIF of the guy smashing his head into the computer screen repeatedly. Arguably, monitor smash man was one of the first memes before I knew ‘meme’ was a word. I think some of this would be fixed if I could actually run my glass from my screen cast view of the app. The screen cast view works well with my Google phone but the latency is horrible.
There is the potential that I could peacefully wear my Glass all day, I think, if I could run it by remote control when needed. One last minus: the battery does not hold a charge very well at all, especially if Glass is processing images, audio or video. One last prop for the Glass—the Maui Jim sunglass visor is amazing, and the design styles are very well thought out. The cool factor is definitely there for the Glass, I want to like it, but I agree with my son, it’s frustrating.