My Thoughts on the Google Glass Explorer Program
Back in October I received a Google Glass invitation, and on Nov 6th Google told me I could either have them mailed or come in and pick them up at their NYC location. I opted for the pick-up, but then was so busy with work that it took me a few weeks before I made it in.
I’ll admit, if it was strictly for personal use I’m not 100% sure I would have gotten them yet. After taxes they’re $1,633 even without extra air buds etc. But for me a primary interest lies in the opportunity of understanding personal big data better, and more specifically of course applications related to text analytics and how OdinText may leverage this type of unstructured data.
Market research applications are quite obvious, and therefore of less interest to me. Those applications should rightfully be an afterthought anyway. Understanding how the shopping experience could change completely (since Glass users can already instantaneously scan barcodes in stores and search Amazon and other sites for competitive prices) is far more interesting. Also I admit both the sociology as well as marketing/branding component, especially the online community of 8,000+ Initial explorers which Google has very cleverly put together is fascinating to me.
Privacy is another area that will be changing as a result. There are several threads in the community where it comes up, and explorers have little patience for it. Personally I think privacy/secrecy has always been more dangerous for society than transparency.
I had read a lot of good things about the pick-up experience, so while it was ok, I can’t say I was overly impressed. There were a couple of things that I asked about that my rep didn’t seem too sure about. However the experience immediately afterwards was great.
In NYC at least, wearing the charcoal version with prescription eye glasses doesn’t make you stand out so much, which gives introverts like myself the freedom to take pictures and video of anything without feeling awkward. Extroverts love it too of course, they seem to opt for orange or blue versions and get all the attention they desire. The pictures and especially videos are incredibly crisp and clean and you can share them to Google+ instantaneously.
Making a telephone call is quite easy. Even without using the included air bud, the bone conduction transducer allows only you to hear a caller, though it feels a little odd/tingly at first as the vibrations enter your skull on the right side of your head.
I’ve just started checking out the official Apps. I’m liking that Evernote is one of them and I’ll be able to make good personal use of it to take notes and save ideas. Perhaps we’ll build our own OdinText related Glassware app…?
I’m already thinking about the several areas where Google Glass may have an impact in the near future. One such area may well be greater acceptance of both visual data input and natural language processing interface. Even though natural language interface has been around for some time (everything from Dragon Speak to the more recent Siri), the very simple audio commands in Glass such as “Ok Glass, Take a picture” may help do what Skype and now Apple have done for acceptance of video phone technology. Unlike the natural language interface in my car, the fact that Google Glass is there on you at all times makes it feel more natural to speak to your computer and therefore far more likely that it will start feeling more natural to talk to our devices - or “the one that rules them all”.
I’ve already added G+, Facebook and Twitter Glassware apps (speaking a tweet is kind of cool). There doesn’t seem to be a LinkedIn app yet. I Included a few of my initial pictures below.
PS. I’ve noticed how a great deal of Explorers update their social media profile pictures with images of them sporting the glasses. It seems partly that that for many of them it’s truly become a big part of who they feel they are, for others of course understandably it’s a little bit about exclusivity and bragging rights. I was on the fence regarding this personally and wasn’t going to do it because I don’t like the idea of possible alienating folks. However I’ll ask you to bear with me at least for a short period. After thinking about it I felt doing so would help me to signal/connect to other Explorers more easily, and better understand their experience, which is if of course part of why I’m doing this.
It’s already fascinating to me what a love/hate experience many others tend to have with Glass (more on this in a later post possibly).
[Full Disclosure: Tom H. C. Anderson is Managing Partner of Anderson Analytics, developers of a new patented approach to text analytics. The text analytics software platform is called OdinText]