Last week, Jen Chung and I were invited to strap our eyeballs in and sample the goods at The Secret Society Of Google Glass. We were greeted there by a team of the world's most attractive cyberunicorns, who offered us a taste of Google's most coveted Kool-Aid in a showcase room whose Feng Shui Meter was off the hook. The event was really more of a nibble than a meal, a teaser of what life will be like for affluent Google Plus enthusiasts in the far flung future of 2014. We do not have all the answers you seek about Life, The Universe, And Everything Glass-Related—but considering our previous haunted encounters with people using the device, and concerns about privacy, we thought we'd share some initial impressions about Glass.
Yakas: If you really want Glass, you better embrace Google Plus. Everything on Glass syncs with your account—if you take a photo or video, you can automatically upload it to your Plus account.
Glass also is intrinsically tied in with your phone. We were limited in our ability to try all the basic features (make a call, text, Google something, Hangout, photo, video) because we were just using demo versions. However, we got the major point they wanted to make: when people have Glass, they're not staring down at their phones all the time. I can totally see how one could argue this promotes more present moment interaction, while making sure you don't miss that important text message. It still looks kind of weird, and I'm not totally convinced we need this, but I understand its usage much more clearly now.
Chung: My hair interfered with swiping. Is Glass telling me I need a new hairstyle or a new haircut? Or should I just invest in barrettes?
Yakas: As the Journal rightly pointed out, Google Glass are not really glasses. They haven't quite figured out the whole Glass-for-people-with-Glasses aspect yet. There was one
cult member employee who had a pair of glasses specifically outfitted with Glass, but he told me they were still tinkering with that design—they likely won't have those ready when Glass goes on the market next year. I had to fit mine on top of my glasses (see photo above), which was slightly awkward. Without them on, I couldn't focus on the screen and real life very well.
Chung: I successfully Googled "Gothamist Google Glass," but couldn't actually click onto any of the articles to see that we first encountered them in an East Village bar with "Ass Juice." Hopefully that'll change at some point.
Yakas: I found it easier to use the physical tap interface rather than the head-nodding kind. I also picked up on a potential problem area: since we were talking about Google so much, the Glass kept thinking I wanted it to Google random words. Thus, I found words like "Popping" popping up on my little blue screen when all I was trying to do was converse with my Google Sensei.
Chung: The Google Hangout aspect—where you'd be able to share video of what you're seeing with others—seems cool, but I didn't get to try it.
Yakas: That was an angle they tried to sell me on. Hard. One employee told me he would be taking care of his kid and bring his mother in for a Hangout, so she got to feel like she was there, and then he wouldn't actually have to physically spend time with her. Actually, that seems pretty cool.
Chung: At $1,500, it's too pricey for the mundane things I'd use it for—texting my husband to buy more yogurt while I'm pushing my daughter in her stroller, or asking where the nearest playground is. But at $200-300, I'd definitely consider it!
Yakas: There was a strong concern among the Glassercisers that some people will be close-minded about Glass because of privacy concerns. Here's one thing that made me feel a bit relieved: you can very clearly see the blue of the screen when someone is using Glass. It shuts down quickly (after less than 10 seconds) if you aren't actively using it. You can also immediately tell when someone is taking a photo or video (a light pops on in front). At least you'll know for sure when someone is trying to creep on you!
Chung: I did not take their gin drinks because I wanted a sober Glass experience.
Yakas: I was plied with liquor by my Glass Sensei. He showed me the dopest things. Google Glass is dope.