For the uninitiated and the people that have just stepped out of the time machine from the past, here’s what Wikipedia says Google Glass is: “Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). It was developed by Google with the mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a Smartphone-like hands-free format.” Basically, it’s those uber-cool glasses that we’ve seen being used in Hollywood movies by the likes of Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Is that simple enough for you?
Now that you’re up-to-date with the rest of us, I thought I’d address the issue of pros and cons of Google Glass today. By far, it is the most controversial piece of technology ever invented. People either love it (mostly the ones that own it!) or they absolutely hate it (mostly the people that don’t have Glass and feel that people with Glass are recording them secretly…check out my next post on this topic!). So the natural side-effect of all this adoration and hatred is a bunch of pros and cons…though take it from a geek (me!), more useful pros than annoying cons.
- Hands-free convenience: Other than the simple text messaging and calling options that are hands-free, there are a host of other possibilities. Barbara Ortutay, a tech writer for Associated Press, swears by the usefulness of Google Glass for cooking, for example. Another activity is driving directions on GPS.
- First Person Account: It’s like have a built-in GoPro camera on your head at all times, except with Google Glass you don’t have to have a helmet cam or a large protruding cam hanging around somewhere on your body…it’s a tiny camera built into the right side of the Glasses. Videos you record on Google Glass are very personal…it shows viewers what you were looking at…we see the video through the eyes of the Glass wearer!
- Integration with you: Hand gestures, head shakes, winks, etc., are now replacing the keyboard and mouse on Google Glass. The only thing you’ve to get used to is the way you appear to onlookers. Most of them will stare at you until they think you’ve gone crazy and ignore you. 🙂
- Bone Conduction: Instead of the traditional speakers, Google Glass uses vibrations that will transmit the sound to you through the bones behind your ear (Bone Conduction). This is less abrasive than the earphones that are blatantly inserted in your ear and over time may give you deafness. So there’s a health benefit to wearing Glass after all.
- Takes time to learn it: Unlike most products that are easily learned when taken out of the box, Google Glass is a little but tougher to learn. It takes some time to get used to it and to make the best use of it. It can be frustrating initially, but stick to it and you’ll be fine.
- The price: Right now, the Google Glass costs $ 1,500 and that’s a big chunk of money to invest in glasses. Some of us may disagree, but looking at this objectively, I agree that the cost is a little prohibitive and hope that one day when Glass is commercially marketed, the price will also go down. Even then, I’d not hold my breath on that happening very soon.
- Spying concerns: Face recognition is a dangerous tool and could lead to a lot of issues on privacy. It could be misused by the wearer or, if hacked, by someone out there. The more serious concern though is onlookers getting the feeling that they are being recorded. A lot of bars, theaters, restaurants have banned Google Glass for now, but once the community of Glass grows, these concerns will melt away.
- Battery Life: The life of the battery is a big concern for active users who have experience loss of battery life within 90 minutes to 2 hours. I’m sure Google is working on improving this.
All in all, Google Glass is a futuristic device that is here to stay and any number of naysayers will not affect the final outcome…a Google Glass world. Don’t forget to check out my post on how non-wearers feel about Google Glass and how NOT to be a Glasshole.
And finally, this is a really funny video of Google Glass to lighten up the mood: