9/25/2013

Through the Google Glass: Part 2


 


Part 2: Keeping It Glassy

Using the Google Glass is surprisingly streamlined. It takes a little bit of fidgeting to get used to which swipes of your finger do what, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. So instead of this article reading like an owner’s manual, I’m going to take you through common day-to-day use of Google Glass with some tidbits of info along the way.

First things first: if you are thinking that Glass is a laptop for your face, allow me to gently advise you that such is not the case. Google Glass is a companion piece of technology, meaning it relies on your phone or Wifi to live (more about this later). Getting started, you need an active Internet connection and an interface through which you can access the Internet, such as a smartphone, tablet or computer. Everyone who has Glass will have a MyGlass account page on Google. It looks like this:






From here, you can log into Wifi or hotspots by scanning a QR code. This is also important: you cannot access Wifi using the Glass on its own. You must be able to scan the code. The best way to access the many different aspects of the Glass’ capabilities is with the MyGlass app, available through Google. It should be noted, however, that the app requires Ice Cream Sandwich on Droid phones. But rest assured that, if you’re like me and have failed at maintaining the most up-to-date phone models, you can still use all the features except text messaging and GPS directions. Here is a very basic video of Glass’ features to segue
into the next section of information:

Now, we get into the magic words: when you’re on the main screen, you can say, “OK, Glass” and then one of several commands (take a picture, record a video, Google, etc.). The commands come up in a list or as
individual cards, which you can also select without voice command. This is where I’d like to get into a little bit of myth-busting. After I purchased Glass, it was no time at all before I started getting images like this from my ever-hilarious friends:





Think again.
The video I referenced above was very generous about how long your main screen will stay up with the clock. If you tap your Glass to life (or nod, which is what I prefer, being all hands-free and whatnot), you
probably have roughly five seconds to start talking. If Glass can’t understand what you are saying, it won’t do anything. If you don’t enunciate, it won’t do anything. If it’s not on that first screen, it won’t do anything.
The voice activation is not something someone can hijack easily. It’s just not feasible.
Which brings me to my next point: Glass is not made to be in active use at all times. This is a very common misconception. Many believe that it’s exactly like on the promo video, with the box right there in your face, 24/7. Nope. Most of the time you have it on, it will be in standby mode. The more you use it, the faster the battery dies. And guys? The battery dies a lot. This is my biggest beef with the Glass in its current incarnation. With intermittent use, the Google Glass lasts about 8 hours. This greatly diminishes as you use it for video, phone calls, Google searches, and so on. And if you think your phone gets hot, this little strip of magical technology becomes a strip-shaped burning coal when you have it on for longer than about two minutes. 
Speaking of phone calls…this is probably one of the most interesting albeit bizarre aspects of Glass. As you can see in photos, there is no earpiece or speaker. This is because the Glass uses a bone conduction
transducer, meaning that it transmits sound to the ear through the bones in your skull. It is insane and amazing. I have never experienced anything like it.

In conclusion, the biggest thing I try to remind people is this: what I and the other Google Explorers wear right now is a prototype. It is constantly being worked on, upgraded, tinkered and tested. It is – in every
sense except physically – changing each day. Every update brings something new, something more polished and something safer. I am very excited to be a part of Glass’ evolution. Have any questions I didn't answer? Go ahead and post them in the comments. Tomorrow, I will be doing an FAQ for Glass based on the
questions I've received most since I bought this little toy.



If you’re interested in seeing Glass in action, check out my channel “Through the Google Glass” on Youtube.

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