24 Apr Through the Glass (an interview with a Google Glass user)
Posted at 17:41h
, Tech News
Recently we got the opportunity to interview Ben Fitzpatrick, a Google Glass user.We got the lowdown on Google’s wearable tech firsthand.
Here is Ben’s response through the looking (Google) glass.
I got the Google Glass from Google in Mountain View, CA. Back when they were first starting, you couldn’t get them shipped to you like you can if you get an invitation now. Then, you had to go pick them up, either in NYC, LA, or Mountain View. I took my girlfriend Katie with me to California, and we had a quick weekend trip around San Francisco before picking up Glass. Glass costs $1500, which is certainly a big chunk of change. I don’t think Glass itself is worth $1500, but getting them in an early-beta program and having the ability to test and give feedback on them makes it worth it for me. I don’t believe they have a warranty – that said, Google has already done a swap for Explorers replacing V1 of the hardware with V2. I didn’t notice much physical difference between the two units, but the firmware on them gets updated regularly and they’ve added some neat features so far.Currently the thing I use them the most for, and one of their cooler features, is location-based event information. For example, I live over near the Orange Peel, and usually when we walk by there the Glass will buzz. If I touch the side, it shows me an event nearby that’s happening soon. Sometimes it’s a music show or poetry slam. I’m pretty sure Google Now’s semi-creepy knowledge of things I would like and dislike feeds into what Glass shows me, but I’ve found out about some neat events that way. Probably the thing I use it for the second-most is to check the time, which it makes handy to do without touching it or pulling out a phone. It’s even less obvious than looking at a watch.The downside right now is that it’s like being an exhibit in a zoo – everyone notices, and everyone wants to talk about them. That’s one of the reasons I wear them out and about fairly frequently – if people get used to seeing them, it won’t be so weird. When we picked up the Glass from Google, everyone there was wearing one, and it’s amazing how that turns the tables and makes that ‘normal’, and if you’re not wearing one you feel out of place. I don’t think that’s going to happen around town anytime soon, but it gave me a neat view of what things could be like.
I don’t feel like Google is watching everything I do. Google’s pretty clear about what information does and doesn’t go back to them, and what it runs its automated software over and what it doesn’t. My private things are still mine, and if running software over the rest gets me good concert recommendations, that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make. I feel like people need to be aware how much of their information is public and analyzed by any of the big Internet companies, not just Google.
I haven’t experienced any ‘hate’ and certainly not any ‘hate crimes’ from wearing them. I’ve had some strange experiences, like the man who just walked up, took a picture without asking me, and walked away (I always ask before taking people’s pictures, especially when wearing something like Glass!), and at one local venue a bartender came up to me and said “Just so you know, you’re not allowed to record anything in here”. People with cell phones don’t get that warning, why single Glass out? I kind of wanted to make a recording just to be contrary, but there wasn’t anything worth recording going on. There are definitely moments that make it all worth it too, though. I let people try this on, and one father let his little 9 year old girl try them. After she tried them, she said “I like the future!”
Photo taken by Kristin Fellows