Wednesday, September 04, 2013


So, many of you may have noticed that in June, I got Google Glass. Beta--they're not actually available. In fact, I will confess, I am SO undeserving!! Earlier this year, Google offered a contest for people who wanted to Beta-test Glass and to enter you had to Tweet or post on Google+ the line "If I had Glass . . ." and then what you would do.

Ya'all, my husband entered me. HE is the one who had been watching Glass develop and been super-interested in them, and he entered me in order to double HIS chances. I kid you not.

So the first I heard about this contest at all, was in a crazy stream of texts that I got all at the same time (because I was flying, so when I landed they all burst out at me!) from my husband, explaining what Glass was, what the contest was, and that I had been selected to be in the Glass Explorer program. It all ended with a text that essentially said, "So . . . can I, er, you, er, WE do it? Itsokayifyousayno."

Like I was going to say no to THAT.

Fast forward a couple months, we got a date to go pick them up at a Google headquarters and figured it was a fabulous time to take our kids to the beach.:D It was a fast trip because we had a zillion things going on, but we got in a lovely visit with my hubby's grandmother, a long morning at the beach, and went straight from the beach to Google headquarters. Yes, I was wearing my bathing suit under a sundress and still had sand in my crotch, which they never point out in beachy movies. The essentially "bouncers" standing in front of the building with clipboards clearly thought I was in the wrong place.

I went in and got one-on-one training with a Google guy and he was able to break down the basics for me in 30 minutes flat. An hour after arriving at Google, I walked out in these:

See? Swimsuit straps and sundress ties. Just like I said.:D Also, no sunburn. Wear sunscreen people. And reapply every two hours.:D

So thus began my life with Google Glass. So what do I think? They're fun. I like them.

Here are the main questions I get asked by strangers in public:

#1 SOOOOOO #1 How do you like them?:

Which, I'm sorry to everyone who asks, is a very silly question. Either, I work for Google and I'd better tell you I love them even if I hate them with the passion of a thousand suns, or I'm a complete moron and am wearing them around even though I hate them, in which case, do you really want my opinion? So when I always, always, answer that question with, "They're fun. I like them," I haven't actually shared any pertinent information.:D

#2 What is that?: This one takes time and the answer depends on how long I have. If I'm in a hurry you just get the, "It's a computer you wear," answer. I do *try* to take the time to explain what they are, but I have a very busy life.

#3 Are you recording me right now?: Okay, let's put this silly rumor to rest, shall we? When you are facing someone who is wearing Glass and it's awake (which it has to be to either take a picture or record) you can see it. As far as I know, (and I'm sure there will be apps that will do this later) you cannot take a picture or record someone without them seeing that you are doing *something.* The guy with the camera that looks like it's just sitting idly in his hand, but the lens happens to be facing you? The girl who looks like she's texting, but it holding her camera at a pretty upright angle? Both of those people WAY more likely to be recording you than someone wearing Glass. (Unrelated, at the store the other day this teen took a picture of my adorable daughter with her phone and was clearly trying to disguise it but left the sound on. My 2yo, VERY familiar with that sound says, "Mommy, you take my picture?" I LOL'ed on the inside.)

#4 No question, just the blank look.: I never leave the house without at least lipstick on if I'm wearing my Glass. Because if you look like you're put together and dressed decently, folks are much less likely to think that perhaps you simply left your tin-foil hat at home. This is such new tech that so many people literally have no clue what it is and you get looked at SO funny. Which is actually kind of fun.:) But I get more looks of "Oh cool!" when my hair is styled and I'm wearing make-up, and more looks of "OMG look at the freak!" when I don't. Which is why, when I wore them to ComicCon is San Diego, even though I knew 90%+ of that particular demographic would know exactly what I was wearing, I still made sure I looked like this:

(ComicCon was the one place where I literally got multiple cat calls of something along the lines of, "Hey! Google Glass! Lookin' good!" I loved it, personally!)

#5 How much did you pay for that?: People, do I NEED to explain why this is a tacky question? I paid more than it's going to eventually be sold for because it's a limited run, not mass-produced, came with extra goodies and personal hands-on training, etc. But what *I* paid for my early edition Glass is not only none of your business, it's not useful information whatsoever. Because it doesn't tell you what you're going to have to pay for yours.:) Let's all wash our hands and move on.

Personal tips:

*This is NOT a tech that you can use while driving. I've heard it bandied about that it will save the world from driving and texting. No. No, no, no, no, no and also, no. It is absolutely no less distracting than texting. HOWEVER, it is a better tech for red light usage because there's no glancing up and down at a phone and then getting honked at when it turns green because you inevitably don't see it. The traffic light is in your line of sight, right next to your screen. When it turns green, you swipe down (turn it off) and drive on your merry way. (I have NO idea the legality of this, do at your own ticketing risk!!!)

*Bring it to social activities and let your friends try it! They have fun! Here's Beth Revis the amazing trying mine out (Sorry for the lighting):

And when they're done, consider laying your Glass down on the table. If you are in a crowd where you wouldn't surf on your phone or answer your email, etc. there's no reason to be wearing glass and I feel like it can be a bit intrusive. At least until everyone has them.;)

*Related, do NOT take naughty pictures with your Glass! Not only does it save all pics to the Cloud, but if you let anyone try them on (yes, I know there is a guest mode, but that is a huge hassle, IMO) they are going to flip through some of your history. And um, they don't want to see nekkid bits. Trust. Me. (Carrie Ryan was flipping through mine, saw the tagline to an email and said, "Oh, hey, congrats on your Italian deal.:D LOL! )

*Remember that you look a little funny while you're using them. While after a while you stop going cross-eyed as my lovely SIL Brittany is demonstrating here... best, you look a little spaced out when you are actively doing something on them. So quickly checking an alert when you are supposed to be listening to your boss? Yeah, don't do it. If there is one thing Glass lacks, it's subtlety. I'm not even saying it NEEDS subtlety. But, yeah . . . it doesn't have it.:D (See the, OMG SEEKRIT PICTURES section.)

So, along with my hashtag, #AuthorInGlass, how does Glass help me in particular as an author? It doesn't, really. I don't wear it at home in front of my computer. I rarely email with it, and when I do, it's to friends or family. The voice dictation works pretty well, but has little to no capitalization or punctuation, and that's not how I want to present myself as an author to my professional associates. However, it is nice to have the little ding in my ear that lets me know I have an email, to glance at it on my screen, and see if it's worth digging my phone out and actually responding to an email. (And in many ways I like the alerts better than simply Push on my iPhone because I can hear it, but no one else can.)

I find Glass most helpful on weekdays when I am out of my house. It's a "busy person" piece of tech.

I like to refer to them as my professional attention-getter. People often want to know how I got them and I can say, well, guess what I do for a living? (Because the fact that I have 10K+ followers on Twitter is almost certain why I was selected and not my husband.;)) Business cards have been handed out; that's all I'm saying.;)

As an author I frequently use them to take pictures while I am traveling and to post them on Twitter. I generally find myself using a hybrid of Glass and my phone because even thought they're supposed to, I have never managed to get the captions to work on my Glass. So I have to add context. Also, adding captions means talking to myself in public. (Voice dictation.) So yes, I use it in my capacity as an author, but I don't think I get any particularly special kind of use out of them because I am an author. Does that makes sense?

*OH!!* And when I'm flying, because without fail, it drives the TSA agents NUTS! Either they want to ask about it and know they can't waste your or their time, or they are like, OMG WHAT IS THE POLICY ON THIS?!?!? And goodness knows, I like to mess with the TSA. (Seriously, the TSA people go crazy.;) In San Diego I went through security during a really dead time and they FLOCKED. I had like six guys surrounding me asking questions. And then a lady on a platform kept shouting down, "What did she say?" It was hilarious.)

If you see someone in public wearing Glass and want to approach them, please keep in mind:

1.) They get stopped a minimum of once every five minutes. After ComicCon followed by a week of tour, I had to put them away for a week because I needed a break from people stopping me in public.

2.) So please be polite. If the person is on their computer, talking on the phone, engaged in a conversation with someone else, eating, or simply look frazzled, let it go. Come ask ME questions. I'll answer them! (Twitter is great for that!!!) Very few of us work for Google (you are way more likely to see an Exporer in them than a Google employee) and because we all purchased our Glass outright, we don't owe Google time, or reviews, or canned good opinions, etc. So I mean this in the nicest way possible, we don't owe *you* anything. If we are clearly busy, find someone online to ask.

3.) I know you're excited, but please don't lose your head. The single bad experience I had was with a man in a Costco where I was shopping with my 2yo. I really, really try to give this man the benefit of the doubt because 1.) he obviously was super-excited and 2.) as he talked it became clear English was not his first language. But still. I was in a corner and all I know is I turn around with my tortillas, try to get out, and am blocked in by a man and the woman with him. And I try to get by and he points a finger in my face and says, "How do you like it?" I'm totally stunned; I've forgotten I'm even wearing Glass (yes, I do totally forget--they're surprisingly unobtrusive) and he repeats, again with a finger in my face, "How do you like it?" I'm there with my child, physically blocked from removing myself from the situation, with someone who, until I remembered my Glass, I literally thought was purposely sexually harassing me. Once I remembered my Glass, (Oh, right, see FAQ #1.) that did NOT make everything okay! I was still physically blocked in with my kid, and felt extremely uncomfortable. Hello, Mama Bear. I gave mono-syllable answers and got myself the heck out of there!! I recommend simply using "Hello," or "Excuse me,"to begin a convo about Glass. Call me crazy.

4.) If you are polite and they're not busy, don't be surprised if they let you put them on. Literally dozens of complete strangers have put on my Glass. Because as an observer, it's super fun to see people's faces light up when they see how it works for themselves! Then again, don't be surprised if they don't, but when I'm not busy, I totally let people try mine.


*I think it's hilarious when people call me a cyborg. Some people won't think so.

*I thought the Glass cat-calls at CC were super fun and not sexual at all. Some people will disagree.

*I hate walking around in public talking to my Glass, so I rarely do the voice-dictation thing outside of my home. I can see some people thinking that is super-fun.

*I think my Glass were easier to get used to because I wore glasses most of my life. Both in terms of having something in my periphery that I mostly ignore and the weight of the earpiece. (The one that holds the screen took me a couple weeks to stop hurting my ear after several hours.)

So yeah, I guess that's my report. I will say, what I'm really looking forward to is the apps that are going to flood in when Glass is actually released. Because while it is fun, and performs its (limited) functions very well, I think its usefulness is going to skyrocket when developers get their hands on it. Right now, it's still a toy to me. Fun. Functional. Not pushing aside my beloved iPhone anytime soon.

So yeah, to answer the #1 question . . . They're fun. I like them.:D



Kilo said...

The Starbuck is VERY strong in that first photo. I wonder how much that cues the cyborg question (or whether thinking about you as a potential cyborg frames the way I see the photo). Probably just a coincidence.

Thanks for the description of your experience! I suspect they chose their ambassador very well indeed, because you make it sound like a pretty normal, useful thing rather than something alienating.

Unknown said...

I am actually so glad you explained these! You were wearing them at your signing and I really wanted to ask what they were, but I didn't to be rude. And, yes, I don't really stay on top of technological advancements (that's my husbands job), so I had no idea what Google Glass was.

Anyways, thanks for the information! They do sound super fun!