Google, today, announced that the Glass program would be pulled back from developer status. The review (beneath) was originally posted on 4/21/14–my how things have changed! Although Google has indicated that the Glass product will be iterated and released “when ready”, we can’t say that will be anytime soon!
So, enjoy the review of Glass beneath with the very real possibility in mind that this product may be no more!
Yes, I became a Glass explorer. Mostly this is because I’m fascinated by the rollout of the product AND because some colleagues and I wanted to use the system as part of a new business model experiment. Unfortunately, Glass couldn’t YET deliver on our needs. Our team remains positive about the product (especially the way Google is iterating it and promoting adoption), but let’s talk about the positives, limitations, and features of Glass that need improvement:
(1) No video calls (!)
The day before this latest Glass release (approx 4/15/14), Google removed the ability to make video calls from the system. How unfortunate! First, the main reason our team purchased Glass was for the video call feature. We needed this hands free, video option for our new business model. Google has announced that the feature was removed owing to limited use and poor quality. Please, Google, bring back the feature we need!
(2) Glass has a beautiful screen.
We were impressed with the resolution and clarity of the Glass screen. You can read entire websites very easily, and the display’s brightness in different lighting conditions adjusts appropriately. For such a seemingly small screen, it does give the illusion of a much larger screen that hovers a few feet in the distance. Nice work, Google.
(3) Glass battery life isn’t great.
Perhaps it’s just our device–we don’t know. However, a full charge does NOT last long at all. For example, as I’m writing this, my Google Glass’ charge has decreased by 20% with little to no use IN THE PAST 15 MINUTES. There is a feature that, when you remove Glass, it shuts down and saves charge. We have that activated too. Enough said.
(4) Glass interfaces with my home wifi router in a strange way & I’m not always sure when it’s sending data or what data it’s sending.
So sometimes Glass seems to be sending data when I’m not doing anything with it. Sure, lots of devices do that–yet, I can’t help wondering what it’s sending. Privacy concerns with Glass already abound and maybe that’s why I wonder what this thing is up to.
Also, my poor Airport WIFI router seems to have issues with Glass. Don’t know why, but when Glass is on it boots everything else off the network and makes them unable to access the Internet. Could be that I just have firmware updates, etc., to do as new devices like Glass come onto the market.
(5) Glass requires touch to operate.
Yes, much of Glass can be controlled with head movements and voice. However, touch is often required to start or accept actions. In light of #6 beneath, and the fact that we need a hands-free device for our business model, we’d really like to see less touch. Maybe just us on this one.
(6) Glass voice recognition is excellent.
One really impressive feature of Glass is the voice to text fidelity. Accuracy and speed are excellent here.
(7) Glass came with frames.
This version of Glass came with frames included. They’re not bad, and accept a standard lens from stores like LensCrafters. You can see the set I received in the photo above. Overall, this is a good feature.
In the end, our team is very impressed by the intelligent manner with which Google is rolling out Glass. The focus on an MVP-type product, and positioning with early adopters, is a nice study in how to bring something truly different to market. The product itself is exactly what it says it is: a developer stage device that is coming along nicely and iterating as it goes.
Some qualities of Glass need improvement (think battery life here) and others, like video calls, need to be brought back–Google hear our plea!
Glass is an interesting device with many potential uses, and we are excited to be part of its process as it goes on to fulfill its promise.