I had meant to do more frequent updates on my experiences with #GoogleGlass, but my plans to download regularly pictures and videos from a vacation to southern Africa in August were compromised when the Chromebook I brought along failed to talk nicely to #GoogleGlass. In fact, the Chromebook and Glass were not on speaking terms at all. Admittedly, my Chromebook is one of the less expensive models but still I was befuddled by the Chrome operating system’s failure to recognize a cousin of sorts. Oh well…
Google definitely has established worldwide buzz for Glass. My favorite encounter was in Kasane, Botswana. When I landed at the little-more-than-an-airstrip, a German national approached me cautiously. “Is that Google….Glass?” but his expression said this is the last place in the world I expected to see one. In return for getting his selfie with Glass, I asked him my standard two questions. You can see his answers here.
I asked everyone who tried Glass the same two questions. I always got the same answers. But far from a scientific sample. (Apologies for the poor audio quality.)
My friend in Botswana:
My Israeli friend working in South Africa.
I liked using Glass best to take videos in places where it was otherwise awkward to take a video. Like at Sunday mass in Regina Mundi, the legendary Catholic church in Soweto. We attended the mass where the congregation sang all the prayers…in Zulu. It lasted two and a half hours, at least half of it in song. I don’t know any more details about the special group of women dressed in purple accompanying the Presentation of the Gifts, but they were truly beyond awesome. (The framing of this video leaves much to be desired I know. Some of it is me; some the limitations of #GoogleGlass.)
On my last day in South Africa, my friend Nate took my mom to Alexandra township near Johannesburg, once a hot spot and no-go area of Johannesburg. He’s working there to introduce mobile banking. Many South African blacks spend hours in line just to send money to relatives and pay bills. They can’t use regular banks because of the fee structure.
Here’s a video of us driving through Alexandra.
South Africa remains one of the most complicated countries in the world. But it’s important to see it clearly for what it is. From there we can proceed.
My First Week with Glass
- Many serendipitous conversations.
This employee at Bed, Bath, and Beyond who turns out to have a very interesting background. I almost got it on my first guess.
The shoppers at the local HEB in Texas
Two charming young girls, and their cool Dad, at the local steakhouse in Texas
A collage of pictures I’ve taken. You can’t zoom with GoogleGlass yet, and that means some people don’t even know they are in the frame. I also like the non-posed quality of some of the shots.
Overall, there is a more honest quality to many of the pictures.
- People are comfortable speaking to me when I’m wearing GoogleGlass
Huge surprise here. People of all ages have been very relaxed. We talk for many minutes and it’s clear they’ve forgotten about them or at least processed their presence. Kids of course are no problem. Texans (I’ve been here this weekend) are quite enthusiastic. Even my 78-year-old mom was happy to try GoogleGlass and ended up reading a text on it wishing her a happy birthday yesterday.
Of course many people pretend not to notice them.
- Even if you have imperfect vision, you can make them work.
I wasn’t sure how GoogleGlass was going to work for me as I wear glasses and have a particularly weak right eye, and at least as of now the prism screen sits only over your right eye. But I’m happy to report I don’t have any problems using it or reading simple text (which is all you’ll ever see really) and I’m actually hopeful the new exercise for my right eye will finally get it to pull it’s weight.
- They get warm, perhaps even hot. You tend to forget that GoogleGlass is a small computer and when you ramp it up to do harder things—like recording a video, it heats up. Just a bit uncomfortable but I have thick curly hair so I’m padded.
- I really wish they bent in the middle like regular glasses. You can’t easily tuck them in the V of your shirt. As I said I need to wear regular glasses in many situations so I’m constantly trading them with my GoogleGlass. Unless I’m going to put them away in their nifty carrying case (size of a quality paperback), I’m left to put them on the top of my head. Because the right arm of Glass is heavy, the slight pressure on my head tends to give me a little headache. The exact same kind that I would get in my youth when I tried to wear headbands.
- Short and mysterious battery life. Not always clear what’s drawing the power or why the power level can drop precipitously at certain moments.
- Touchpad and voice controls are both uncertain. I’m much better at it than I was a week ago, but both are still quite buggy. Of course voice controls can’t seem to distinguish nuances among words so there are just some things you can’t make it understand.
Stay tuned for more reports from the Glass Edge.