A Cup Of Coffee And Google Glass

Features and Final Thoughts

You still need a smartphone companion to Google Glass to extract all of its full functionality, but the two devices do play nicely with one another. For example, you can use your phone to log into and authenticate a wireless network and then push it to Google Glass, so you can jump on WiFi without having to fiddle with the spectacles. The screencast feature lets you push what you see in Glass to your phone, which is is a choice feature for handling video and photos. And so on.

Although it may be easier to just push media to your smartphone, Glass does back up everything you shoot through your Glass specs to Google+. Here’s a video Drum shot through Glass of a hot air balloon takeoff and landing:

It’s somewhat surprising how sensitive and useful the touchpad portion of Google Glass is considering its size, but I found the touch input to be easy to pick up, with two caveats. One, it’s not clear where the touchpad ends and the rest of the earpiece begins, so I found myself over-swiping too often (although I imagine muscle memory would take over after some frequent use). Two, there are a lot of commands to remember!

You can swipe forward and back to toggle through items on the display; you can swipe down and up; a long press launches a Google search; use a two-finger gesture when web browsing; you can put Glass to sleep with a two-finger swipe down; and a long swipe will take you through your history on the device.

Glass will hang onto two weeks of your use history, actually, although if you fill up the 12GB of flash storage on board, Glass may flush some of it. It’s also worth noting that it appears as though Glass will slow down when the flash storage starts to max out.

Further on the hardware side of things, there’s an accelerometer (which will no doubt be utilized more as developers continue to exploit it) as well as a bone-conduction speaker that I’m told doesn’t actually work all that well.

As the Glass platform matures, so of course will the app ecosystem, and developers continue to tinker with Glass’ capabilities. Already, system updates come down the pipe monthly, and there are a few apps that are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. For example, Winky--which we’ve written about before--actually works. Your wink is Glass’ command.

Google Glass

Final Thoughts
For as impressive as Glass was overall, it’s clear that the device is still very much a prototype. That’s not to heavily criticize Glass--it’s just that a truly compelling consumer-friendly Google Glass is not quite here yet. David put it eloquently when he noted, “This is the worst version of [Google Glass] there will ever be”. Which is to say, the future looks promising.

When Glass first emerged, one sticking point for many consumers was cost. The $1,500 price tag for the Explorer Edition Google Glass made some wonder if Glass would end up as an expensive toy for the elite, but it’s more likely that the spectacles will cost far, far less. There was some talk that the device may end up costing about $300 at retail while other hearsay indicates a price closer to $500.

It's entirely possible that the price tag could be even lower than that; regardless, at a price point below what you'd expect to pay for a good smartphone, Google Glass sounds like an even more compelling item.

Thanks to David Drum for showing us his Explorer Edition Google Glass and sharing our enthusiasm for all things tech. David is the Research Manager at MOREnet (Missouri Research and Education Network), an organization based at the University of Missouri that offers schools, libraries, and state agencies a broadband Internet connection and access to technical support, training materials, and other electronic resources.

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