Google Glass – A story of joy and sadness – Part 1

In November of 2013 I received an invite to join the Google Glass Explorer program. As a long time developer and a recent Android developer I decided to drop the $1500 and get on board. After receiving Google Glass I focused on the product capabilities to truly understand what it can and cannot do. Immediately my expectations were reduced to the reality that I had a basic Android phone in front of my eye. However through time and continued use, it became clear to me that this product is a game changer. It was not just a modified phone, it is full on information access.

I won’t bother to tell you what it is like to wear Glass or how society reacts to ‘glass holes’ because this is well documented on other blogs. Instead I’ll drop a few undocumented factoids such as Glass stays tight on your head while standing up to urinate. That’s right guys, no more dropped phones in the toilet! (full disclosure, never happened to me… so far). As for driving with Glass, in my opinion, this is distracting. I find that in a stop and go commute, its best to wait for the stop part. In one situation, I was on an open highway when I received an alert about events at the arena I had just passed. It was hard to resist the curiosity of the notification and I needed to see what it was. My attention was then diverted to the Glass screen and DPAD to navigate through the timeline. While the road was open, and I did stay in my lane, I did realize the distraction factor and the future problem we face should Glass become widely distributed.

After a few weeks with Glass it did feel like the novelty wore off. I found that I was more likely to use the product when I was busy doing things around the house and still needed to text friends while busy. It was great to play google music through the earpiece (and not the bone conductor) and also to see YouTube videos while busy with other things. This was a new phase of my usage and my ideas of apps started to really flow.

It was now time to start the process of developing my first application using the Glass GDK. At the time of this writing, there is no easy way to develop for Google Glass without deploying your app directly to Glass. There is no emulator available and all testing must be done on the physical hardware. With the USB cable connected to Glass and Eclipse setup and running I started down the path of creating a weather forecast application. The joy of creating software for a limited release experimental product was only temporary. After a brief time developing, my joy turned into sadness. And the sadness spun into a death spiral for my $1500 Glass.

To be continued in Part 2…

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