[Experience review] My Date with Glass

Putting on Glass is like dating someone you’ve never been in contact with before. Feeling so excited, imagining all the different situations that might happen with Glass before you’ve met, surprised by “his” characteristics when you finally meet. You will experience some low points when you guys spent more time together …but then you will learn to get used to all the good and bad and eventually you will love Glass in your own way.

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Day one – Setting up Glass

I spent the first day (before the battery died) setting up Glass and trying to figure out the relationships between all of my devices. The setup phase is pretty fluid.   I feel the tutorial that comes with the Glass is very useful and I appreciate that Google Glass team decided to incorporate this feature to help tech newbies like me.

I tried to talk to Glass with the way I talked with Siri.

(Open Glass)

Me: “Hello Glass! How are you today?”

Glass:”…” (Showed the commend menu page)

Me:”ar…so can you show me the closest coffee shop?”

Glass:”…”

Me:”??? Search coffee shop for me…please?”

Glass:”…”

(Then I realized I need to follow the commands in a specific sequence.)

Me:”OK, GLASS…GOOGLE (wait for the next page) COFFEE SHOPS NEARBY.”

So this pretty much explained my first date with Glass.

I also tried to take some pictures with the wink control (I know it doesn’t work that well for some people but it works perfectly for me). I panicked a little bit when I took a picture of my messy bedroom and I couldn’t figure out how to delete the picture after I took it. The only command I saw was “share” and sharing my messy bedroom to the cloud is the last thing I wanted to do.

Before the battery died, I also tried to add my contacts in (I wonder if it’s because I’m using iPhone, I needed to add my contacts in one by one, which is a very tedious job…), tried to make a phone call (I was scared by the vibrations Glass made, it is just a weird feeling that something is vibrating right behind your ear), and tried to figure out why my Glass turned off very often in some weird timing. I soon noticed it’s the “on head detection” that make Glass acted weirdly. I might not have calibrated it correctly so it may have detected my slight head movement as taking off the Glass and thus, starting the shutdown.

This is pretty much my first day with Glass. I would say after the excitement of putting on Glass, I struggled to be friends with Glass. However, I will still say it’s a good start and I kind of enjoyed the frustration of getting in touch with a new tech device. It reminded me of the first time I tried to use a smartphone, frustrating but thought provoking at the same time.

 

Day two – Going out door with Glass

Day two, I lost my internet connection on Glass (eventually I found out it’s because I forget to turn on my iphone’s personal hotspot). So I tried to connect Glass to my home wifi. I followed the instructions and created a QR code on my computer (which made me wonder why can’t I just voice input all the information to Glass?), I tried and tried but I don’t know why Glass just refused to connect to the wifi. So I used my phone data plan for internet from then on.

My apartment complex has a small garden besides the outdoor pool. So I decided to go for a walk with Glass in my apartment complex. I did consider walking in downtown and get a more comprehensive feeling of using Glass in a social situation, but safety concern is the main reason that pulled me back. Glass is a delicate, expensive gadget to have, and Los Angeles downtown is definitely not the safest place for a girl (even without Glass) to walk alone on the street. As an international student, the cultural difference makes it hard for me to differentiate the reason why people staring at me…are they just curious or do they have an intention to rob me? These thoughts just make me uncomfortable and insecure. And unfortunately Glass just enforced this awkward feeling.

So I decided to walk around the outdoor pool and the small garden. I wished there was a way that I could turn the Glass display brighter, the content is just hard to view on Glass when you are outdoor and under the brutal California sun. The Sunglasses are also pretty disappointing. It creates a gap in between the viewing line to the display which is super annoying to have something hinder the front of your vision.  Another usability deficiency that I noticed was my hair flies under the wind and I need to hold my hair with my left hand in order to use my right hand to tap control Glass. Otherwise the tap sensitivity is super low with my hair in between.

I also spent a lot of time to learn the logic for Glass’s system structure. I even drew a diagram to help myself learn how to find the functions I need and understand when to tap and when to swipe forward or downward.

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Day three – Play with Apps and Navigation

I tried to download and tried out different Glassware I found on the myGlass website. The installation process is a little confusing. Some application just never successfully installed and I couldn’t figure out the reason why, and some just disappeared after I installed the application (I can’t find it on Glass), and others will have some small problems that just don’t run properly. Upon all the Apps, I like Zombies, Run! And Star Chart the most. Both apps did a great job on audio, and visual output, as well as a fluent user control.

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Another feature I tried is Navigation. Because my lack of confidence in new tech devices, I chose to test Glass’s navigation sitting in the passenger’s seat. And I’m glad I did so. I opened the google map navigation on the phone at the same time while I was testing Glass.  As they use the same data base, both systems gave directions almost at the same time. But I found that Glass navigation actually needed a longer reaction time, to make it clearer, I think Glass should give directions at least 3-5 seconds earlier then the phone navigation. To save battery, Glass will dim away every now and then on the road, and it actually took some time to light up and we also need some time to consume this “overlaying new information”. I think it’s probably okay when driving on slower local roads, but I tried on the freeway where a second of delay might cause missing an exit.

Another concern are health issues. After constant usage, Glass becomes really hot. I’m kind of sensitive to radiations, sometimes I’ll have headaches when I talk on the phone for too long. And the headache happens to me when I use glass…Glass is so close to our brain, I wonder if it will cause some health issues when we wearing it regularly. Eye strain is another issue.

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I don’t mean to complain excessively about my experience, and I understand Glass is a new interface that takes some time to get used to. I want to state that I appreciate Glass as a gateway to the trend of innovative future wearable devices. I feel that a lot of design problems comes from our lack of knowledge of the affordance of the device and it’s just too new to have an overall understanding of how people will use it under different situations. A lot of usability problem just need some tweaking and I believe Glass will then fit in our life more smoothly and pleasantly. Although I had a lot of complaints come out from my experience, I still enjoyed my “date” with Glass. He is a good company, though somehow a little stubborn…but I look forward to the future that we will have together.


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