Friday, November 29, 2013

Google Glass: The Interface To Everything

Well, I did it. Joined the ranks of Google Glass Explorers. Not without some pause either.

Who wants to be a "glasshole", or even just be pegged as breathlessly credulous? I have no enthusiasm for being stopped on the street every other step and quizzed, or to be thrown out of coffee shops.

But what's the point of living in the bay area if you don't get a little dizzy over new technology? And having spent my whole life doing so, I wasn't about to stop now.

Hoping hard that by adding a retro camera filter I won't look so damn stupid

So, what have I discovered in my first hours with Glass?

Glass is a great step towards realizing a future where you have one data and computation cloud, but multiple contextual interfaces. Phone, Glass, TV, and I guess even a computer. The missing interface that I think will be the killer app: your house itself.

Glass has great aesthetics. Large sans serif fonts are really, really, cool*. There's a wonderful feel to glowing neon suspended in space above your eyes, and Glass has it. Liberal use of images and photos works wonderfully.

Glass exists in symbiosis with Google Now. Although they aren't locked in sync yet, Google Search on Glass interprets search "result cards" in a similar way to Google Now and Google Search. This is a good thing, I don't want to learn new interactions purely for using Glass. I can't wait for tighter integration: there's little reason that Google Now and my Glass Timeline oughtn't to be the same thing, or close.

Glass is the future for real estate agents. Seriously. That wide-angle lens takes in the whole of a small room and makes it look great.

Glass makes voice an effective UI. I'm happy to have a context-aware device that does most of the hard work in guiding choices, and the practical affordance of combining voice with touch gestures gives Glass a very human and expedient interface.

Glass' constant availability is its key feature. When you don't even have to take it out of your pocket, Glass becomes number one choice for casual interactions. I research a bunch using the Glass' Google search, and the mobile versions of web sites render well on Glass. Remember how phone cameras took over the digital camera market because of their constant availability? Glass has that same potential. In an Internet of Things world, the UI you have with you is the one you'll use.

Anything not so good? Apparently my nose is thin at the top, and Glass only just fits me. The key is sitting it high enough in your vision. Also, it's early days in terms of some of the applications. Glass has some catching up to do with Google Now. The biggest thing Glass lacks from Now is the ability to add reminders.

Overall, my first impressions of Glass are way more favorable than I expected them to be. Having it available all the time is fantastic. If I can get over how goofy I look in public, I might wear them more. I'm certainly keen to see what apps I can create.

Glass is a fabulous piece of engineering, and a wonderful testing ground for the computing environments of the future. I admire Google for having the confidence to press forward with it.


* Glass is cool. This means, dear +Timothy Jordan, you don't need to keep saying it in your talks. We get it. Truly.