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First Impressions: Hands-On With Google Glass – The (Possible) Future of Mobile Computing

First Impressions: Hands-On With Google Glass – The (Possible) Future of Mobile Computing

We all know (and if you don’t, SHAME!) of Sonny Dickson.  He’s the guy that leaked several dozen photos of the new iPhones and iPads this past fall (with near perfect accuracy, I might add).  Not only is Sonny a super sleuth when it comes to connections in Apple’s production line, he’s also been kind enough to get us, at MacTrast, into the Google Glass Explorer program.


After getting invited to join the program, we thought it would be fair to share with all of you, what Google Glass is all about.  Today, we’ll take a look at what comes in the box, and I’ll give a few of my initial impressions.

Before I get to that, though, I will remind all of you that Google Glass is currently in a sort of quasi-open beta program.  Those allowed early access to the product are selected on a invitation basis, and have only seven (7) days from receiving their invite to order their Glass.  I would venture to guess that there are between 10,000 and 20,000 explorers out there right now, but I could be way off (Google didn’t seem to have any real solid numbers publicly available), and that number is growing as Google is in the midst of opening their second string of invites.

Enough about the technicalities though – let’s dive into the good stuff…

Google Glass Explorer Editions (XE)

The first thing you’ll notice about the packaging for Glass is the matte-finish white box.  In a very light weight font, GLASS is printed on the top, XE on the end (to identify that it is, in fact, the Explorer Edition), and a small sticker to identify that I opted for Charcoal (in retrospect, I should have gone with the tangerine orange, but charcoal looks great regardless).  In a separate, similarly designed box, a pair of shades to turn GLASS into polarized sunglasses.

GLASS in real life

Inside the box for GLASS is, of course, one pair of Google Glass.  Under the lid is a charging block, a USB chord, protective carrying pouch, mono (right-side only) ear bud, and a small packet with some quick FAQs.

Picking up Glass is quite shocking.  While the right side appears bulky, the entire rig is very light weight. Placing it on your head is comfortable, and easy to get situated.  A simple pinch or pull on the nose pieces gets them fit for your nose (regardless of size), and the physical viewer is built on a pivot to position it precisely into your peripheral.

Once you have Glass comfortably positioned on your face, clicking the small power button begins the setup process. For Android users, you are encouraged to download the “MyGlass” app from the Play store – all others can head to the MyGlass website to get started.

MyGlass web view

Getting Started and Using Glass.

The setup is pretty simple.  Allow your Google account to be connected to Glass, enter the details of a Wifi Network, point Glass at the QR code, and things start rolling.  Glass will walk you through the rest, learning your head-tilt activation angle, how glass sits on your face, and explaining how the touch pad on the side controls your screen actions.

I’ve never been a huge fan of voice control, but summoning Glass by saying “Ok, Glass” is actually a very appealing experience.  With a simple lift of the head, or a tap on the gesture pad, the screen is awakened and ready to do my bidding.  The voice recognition is great and very sensitive, although natural speech variations are almost non-existent at this point.  Saying “Ok, Glass, Take a Photo” does nothing, but “Ok, Glass, Take a Picture” will snap the scene ahead.

More to come…


Right now, Glass is somewhat void of overly relevant apps.  Aside from a small selection of very basic apps, the software hasn’t expanded beyond the basic function as of yet.  Additionally, the lack of critical functions with non-Android devices (i.e. no turn-by-turn directions or SMS/iMessage for iPhones) are really holding Glass back.

As the latest wave of Explorers start taking Glass out into the wild, I’m almost certain iPhone integration is on it’s way, and it’s almost a guarantee that more native apps will surface for Glass, as well.  As soon as that trend begins, Glass could begin to take shape as a real, main-stream product.

Again, we want to thank Sonny Dickson for sharing his Glass invite with us, and if you aren’t already, be sure to follow him on twitter – @SonnyDickson – for the latest in Apple-related leaks and prototypes.  Also, keep an eye here on MacTrast as we’ll continue to provide our impressions of Google Glass, as well as all the latest in Apple news, reviews, etc.