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Using Google Glass: A series of awkward encounters

post #1 of 231
Thread Starter 
For all its technical achievements and potential uses, there's really one question that can make or break Google Glass: How do people react when you wear it in public? Here are a series of encounters in the life of a Google Glass Explorer.

Glass


Encounter 1: A good start



I went to Harbor Freight to buy a drill to put holes in masonry. I'm hiding the home entertainment cables in my house and have to route some through brick. The young woman behind the register said, "Oh, are those those glasses? What are they like? Is everyone going to have them in a few years?"

She was curious, had heard enough about them to know they were something, and was shocked to hear that they cost the $1600 (with tax) that Google is asking of developers to join its "Explorer" program.

So far, so good. This was a positive response.

Encounter 2: Suspicion



Glass Hangouts


This was the real destination of my errands, and Glass ran out of battery just as I was trying to get there.

I arrived at the paintball shop to fill CO2 canisters for use with my modified SodaStream carbonator. The owner behind the counter viewed me with suspicion, and asked exactly what I was wearing on my head. He had never heard of Google Glass.

"Basically a cell-phone for the head," I explained. "I get driving directions, e-mails and phone calls to it."

Unfortunately, the owner then became concerned that I might be filming him, without even knowing it included a camera. I explained to him that the batteries had died, so I couldn't film anything. But he wasn't buying it, and he became angry.

Perhaps this is an inherent problem with head-mounted displays. In 2012, Prof. Steve Mann, who pioneered cameras as wearable computers, was physically assaulted by McDonald's employees in France. The employees claimed they were protecting the privacy of staff and other customers.

While the violent incident with Mann is an extreme example, it still captures a major issue Google will have to overcome if it wants to position Glass as a mainstream product. Wearing a head-mounted camera at all times in public will be seen by many as a danger to privacy in an increasingly surveillance-friendly society.

Encounter 3: Enough



I stopped to fill up gas while wearing Glass. I felt the eyes of the man at the register on me as I paid cash for the fuel. If there were a silent button to press under the counter, it's entirely possible he had his finger on it.

Frankly, by this point, I became so uncomfortable wearing Glass that I didn't go out a lot wearing the headset. Some people feel threatened, a few are interested, and a few are bored by it. But almost everyone looks at you like the nerd you are.

There was an issue of Wired years ago with Brad Pitt on the cover wearing a Bluetooth headset, captioned "Ditch the headset. If he can't pull it off, what were you thinking?" In its current incarnation, Google Glass feels like it's destined to become the next-generation, ultimate Bluetooth headset ? an unfashionable, awkward accessory, except this one currently costs $1,500.

What about at home?



Glass Hangouts


Shamed in public, I stuck to wearing Google Glass around the house. The experience there wasn't much better: My wife was incredibly annoyed by them.

Having a screen constantly in your face can arouse suspicion among others ??even loved ones. My wife was sometimes convinced I was paying attention to something else, even if I was talking and looking straight at her. To be honest, I'm sometimes guilty of that without Glass, but just having them on my head didn't help my case.

My wife had friends over. One wanted to try them on and she was really excited about it. Another was pretty fearful of it. But her more tech-savvy husband couldn't believe I had them, and he couldn't wait to learn all about it. For a few minutes we took turns searching the web by voice with "Okay, Glass" ? even though this really isn't that novel.

When my dad and his girlfriend came over for dinner, I put Hangouts on her iPhone and his Android (running CyanogenMod 10), and we tried to hold a video chat. We got it working, but seeing my point of view without a face on their screens ended up looking like a bad music video. It was really disorienting, and I don't think they'll do that again anytime soon.

Conclusions



Google has an uphill battle to convince people they need Glass. They're trying to do this with the recent spate of videos showing people searching things, converting weights, measures and currencies, getting driving instructions ? normal uses.

There's already a video of a person making a marriage proposal through Glass. Some Explorer videos include a teacher who goes to CERN and gives his a class back in Michigan a virtual tour via hangout. There's also pro tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who says she uses them to organize her life.

It seems to me that there's not a lot of advantage over Google Now or other means of Hangouts. The most interesting application that couldn't be done otherwise was Mattek-Sands' observation about discovering how much her head moves to the side while making a shot. Perhaps the utility of Glass is in combining these things we do just as well in our phones already, but by putting it on the head they become more instantly accessible.

Unfortunately, getting over the idea that wearers aren't ignoring the people around them ? and convincing everyone else that wearing a camera in public isn't a violation of privacy ? is going to be difficult. In my early tests, I'm not sold.
post #2 of 231
Google Glass will become a prime example of a consumer product launch that failed by taking a technology too far. However, I can see professional applications where this will prove invaluable.
Edited by chadmatic - 7/7/13 at 10:34am
post #3 of 231
There are going to be some bumpy reactions ahead for Glass. It is going to be tough to ban them though. If they try to pass laws against glass they are going to apply to cameras and cell phones with video recorders as well. Try and tell people those are banned >1smile.gif
post #4 of 231
Good article...there seemed a genuine effort not to be too critical.

Not for me, though. When the intel iMac came out, I bought one straight away. Same with intel white MacBook (& G3) before that.

Bought the original shuffle, original ATV, original iPhone. Got an ipad2....would have got the original iPad and MBA except a little thing called a recession kicked me in the n*ts!

So I think I have a good track record of being an early adopter. I was pleased with every Apple purchase I made. In fact, more than pleased. But the google glass, it just doesn't feel right and I will pass. 1smile.gif
post #5 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Good article...there seemed a genuine effort not to be too critical.

Not for me, though. When the intel iMac came out, I bought one straight away. Same with intel white MacBook (& G3) before that.

Bought the original shuffle, original ATV, original iPhone. Got an ipad2....would have got the original iPad and MBA except a little thing called a recession kicked me in the n*ts!

So I think I have a good track record of being an early adopter. I was pleased with every Apple purchase I made. In fact, more than pleased. But the google glass, it just doesn't feel right and I will pass. 1smile.gif

Meh.   most of your 'early adopter' are fairly late stage low risk adoptions, and all very Apple  specific... doesn't equate to the 'I'll get one and see if my life is better for it, even though I have no idea why I'm getting it"  early adopter life-modder attitude needed for something like this... (the ATV is about the only 'wow... wonder what this is good for' purchase... and only if didn't have an iTMS account and a house full of Macs and iPods).

 

If you said you bought MP3 player in 2002, a Windows Tablet in 1995, or a diskless NeXTCube in 1987... then I'll grant you 'trailblazer' status.

post #6 of 231
Useful article. Technology moves on, and it's too early to tell whether GG will be the Stanley Steamer or the Model T of wearable technology. We gotta start somewhere and kudos to Google for putting it out there. (Kinda hurt to say that!) I think we are headed in this direction, but I don't think this particular formulation is the ultimate form, it will take some time and field testing of variants to settle it. Perhaps such things will end up being for specialized use (surgeons and gamers for instance) rather than everyday wear. As for freaking people out? Well, the first cars scared the horses. It'll get sorted out.
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post #7 of 231
Another way of giving google access to personal information. Not for me.

I will eat your dog! If you have cat, I will eat that too!

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post #8 of 231

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I hate Google Glass and I hope it flops.

 

However, this article has me questioning that stance.  How cute was the girl in Scenario 1?

post #9 of 231

Were you expecting people to not go WTF are you wearing? You are using a product that is limited to an extremely small percentage of the population. There's what 1500 glasses or was that the price? Its likely less than 1000th of percent of the US population that has it. Most would probably be in the bay area.  I would be shock if people didn't go WTF.

 

While the privacy thing is something google/apple/insert company of your choice that makes a headmounted display/camera will have a hard time to over come. Familiarity with such devices will fade if they become more prevalent.

 

Just look at bluetooth earpieces. Before people would have odd looks and think its some crazy person just talking to themselves. You still get the occasional look but most people now just assume you're on the phone and not some crazy person walking down the street.

post #10 of 231

Good article. I think the suspicion will be huge, especially over the ability to record via a camera, and wondering where people's attention is. Smartphones are sometime invasive enough when used without basic courtesy, but at least you can see when someone is looking at, recording with a smartphone. I don't expect this to take off - imo it hinders rather than enhances basic human interaction.

post #11 of 231

You should be using beverage grade CO2 for your Sodastream instead of that contaminated shite at the paintball store.  From the web:

 

"Food Grade" is QVL H. It is technically not Food Grade, it is Food Processing Grade.

Beverage Grade/Quality (ISBT/CGA G-6.2 QVL I) mandates many more impurities be removed that are not even checked in QVL H such as:

Benzene (yes BENZENE), ammonia, phosphine, much lower levels of sulfur and acetaldehyde both of which will affect taste, oil and grease and methanol.  You don't want higher levels of sulfur and acetaldahyde and you sure don't want unchecked benzene levels."

post #12 of 231
I've only seen two people wearing glass so far and they looked like such stereotypical nerds that I was put off for life.

Google needed to give the first batch to cool people. Not to a bunch of dorks.
post #13 of 231
At $1600 and being right there on youre face, robbery will be a problem
post #14 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by ufwa View Post


Just look at bluetooth earpieces. Before people would have odd looks and think its some crazy person just talking to themselves. You still get the occasional look but most people now just assume you're on the phone and not some crazy person walking down the street.
True, they no longer think you are schizophrenic, but they still think you are a douche.
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post #15 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadmatic View Post

Google Glass will become a prime example of an invention that failed by taking a technology too far.

I think cameras, cell phones are a little different from a privacy standpoint. When using a phone or a camera, it's a little obvious your filming or taking a shot. With Glasses, you're just wearing it and people don't know if you actuly recording or not. So privacy concern is real. Besides, I wear eye glasses and I really don't like to, if I could I'd wear contacts but I can't. It will get tiresome quick and will be useless as a paper weight.
post #16 of 231
good artical. very matter of fact styled and informative. Google glass in a way reminds me of other pioneer products like Apple Newton, it shows some potentials as a new category, bur also feels lacking at the same time. Given time it may evolve into somthing great.
post #17 of 231

It'll be interesting to see where this goes. I think people already struggle with etiquette when it comes to modern technology. Google Glass is going to take things to another level.

post #18 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I've only seen two people wearing glass so far and they looked like such stereotypical nerds that I was put off for life.

Google needed to give the first batch to cool people. Not to a bunch of dorks.
when I stood in line to buy iPad 1 on its launch day, the percentage of dorky looking people there appeared to be much higher than general populace.
post #19 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadmatic View Post

Google Glass will become a prime example of a consumer product launch that failed by taking a technology too far. However, I can see professional applications where this will prove invaluable.
Good for movie studios and filming things.
post #20 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by ufwa View Post

 

Just look at bluetooth earpieces. Before people would have odd looks and think its some crazy person just talking to themselves. You still get the occasional look but most people now just assume you're on the phone and not some crazy person walking down the street.

It still throws me when people standing next to me start talking loudly on their BT earpiece.  I'm not exposed to people doing that much so I have not become inured to it.  Glass will face this challenge for quite some time.  Just like Larry David:

 

 

Nonetheless, I think Glass has a chance to find a small, specialized niche and to serve as a unique development experiment.

post #21 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMacMan View Post

I think cameras, cell phones are a little different from a privacy standpoint. When using a phone or a camera, it's a little obvious your filming or taking a shot. With Glasses, you're just wearing it and people don't know if you actuly recording or not. So privacy concern is real. Besides, I wear eye glasses and I really don't like to, if I could I'd wear contacts but I can't. It will get tiresome quick and will be useless as a paper weight.
People may get upset but they dont care about their privacy. Look at the NSA stuff. Google spyware is selling by the millions everyday.
post #22 of 231
basically, GG is a combo bluetooth earpiece plus small handsfree display plus headcam. and very easy to operate - the integrated UI is its real innovation. you still need to be packing a smartphone too.

but you know, who really needs a headcam all the time? or any of the time (ok, once in a while to document/share something in particular that requires using your hands - like cooking with a certain recipe)? and how many of the rest of us want to have anyone stick their camera in our face like that? (i sure don't - if you want to talk with me, take it off first. and don't even think about walking into my office/home with it on).

of course it is fairly common now to see techie guys walking down the street with their bluetooth earpiece on, talking away to whoever, in their own private world. but it's their privacy that is being compromised then. and sometimes women talking into the mic on their earbud cord. but it is so normal now to see people with earbuds/cords on anyway.

so i can see a real mass market for a GG - without the camera. then it's just a much superior version of a bluetooth earpiece, now with a display too. that smartphone you still will need that's in your pocket will always be a much better camera to use in almost every way for when you want one.

there will still be the distraction effect - people momentarily shifting attention to the display away from the people they are with. that used to be considered rude in the old days. but cell phones and texting have already made it semi-acceptable tho still not polite. maybe future generations won't give a sh*t at all about that. well, that's their karma to deal with.
Edited by Alfiejr - 7/7/13 at 11:09am
post #23 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMacMan View Post


When using a phone or a camera, it's a little obvious your filming or taking a shot. With Glasses, you're just wearing it and people don't know if you actuly recording or not. So privacy concern is real.

It'd be so much better if the GG showed a red light when they're recording. Also, it could help if the camera objective had a lid, and it's clearly visible if the lid is on or off. You could place the lid on the objective, and people would know for sure that they have nothing to fear.

post #24 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by chadmatic View Post

Google Glass will become a prime example of a consumer product launch that failed by taking a technology too far. ...

 

It's not that they took it too far, it's that they took a wrong turn.

post #25 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

I've only seen two people wearing glass so far and they looked like such stereotypical nerds that I was put off for life.

Google needed to give the first batch to cool people. Not to a bunch of dorks.

 

By definition, if you're wearing Google Glass, you're a dork. So, it doesn't matter how cool you are before you put it on, once you do you're a dork.

post #26 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by coollector View Post

It'd be so much better if the GG showed a red light when they're recording. Also, it could help if the camera objective had a lid, and it's clearly visible if the lid is on or off. You could place the lid on the objective, and people would know for sure that they have nothing to fear.

 

It does show a red light, but how long is it going to take for someone to hack that and turn it off? Basically, you should just not interact with anyone wearing Google Glass, other than to ask them to leave your place of business.

post #27 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

Good for movie studios and filming things.

People keep saying things like this, but I'm not sure I believe it. Movie studios use special camera mounts to eliminate camera vibration. I imagine that glass video would look more like those crappy YouTube videos where the cameraman doesn't know what he is doing. Not professional quality at all.
post #28 of 231
I already wear glasses (when my contacts aren't in, which is more often than I'd like since I'm getting eyes of a late 30s-year-old now). I hate wearing glasses. They cause migraines and general discomfort. They obstruct life and they damage hand-eye coordination, and yet they're a necessity (can't afford eye surgery). Why would I add to that with this dumb Google gadget? Has anyone who requires contacts or real glasses tested these things on their defective and modified eyes?

Then on top of that, you can add the rest of the complaints and issues already mentioned.
post #29 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

It does show a red light, but how long is it going to take for someone to hack that and turn it off?

Thank you, I did not know that.

 

I hope that Google made it very hard to hack, otherwise it's useless.

post #30 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Huber View Post


True, they no longer think you are schizophrenic, but they still think you are a douche.

 

Which is more than a bit unfair to schizophrenics.

post #31 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

It does show a red light, but how long is it going to take for someone to hack that and turn it off? Basically, you should just not interact with anyone wearing Google Glass, other than to ask them to leave your place of business.

 

Agreed.  The "it shows a red light when recording" argument is worthless.  Anyone who wishes to record anonymousely will do so.

post #32 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by coollector View Post

Thank you, I did not know that.

 

I hope that Google made it very hard to hack, otherwise it's useless.

 

Hey, it's open!

post #33 of 231
That's the beauty of things, google can experiment and not get criticized. Unfortunately had this been Apple the stock would be down 10% tomorrow.
post #34 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

Hey, it's open!

This could be hardware instead of software.

post #35 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by DroidFTW View Post

 

Agreed.  The "it shows a red light when recording" argument is worthless.  Anyone who wishes to record anonymousely will do so.

 

I think the word you wanted there was 'surreptitiously', not 'anonymousely'. Anonymice don't spy on you.

post #36 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by coollector View Post

This could be hardware instead of software.

 

Every component of Glass is almost certainly controllable via software. Even if it weren't, it could still be disconnected or painted over.

post #37 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdonisSMU View Post

People may get upset but they dont care about their privacy. Look at the NSA stuff. Google spyware is selling by the millions everyday.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevt View Post

Good article. I think the suspicion will be huge, especially over the ability to record via a camera, and wondering where people's attention is. Smartphones are sometime invasive enough when used without basic courtesy, but at least you can see when someone is looking at, recording with a smartphone. I don't expect this to take off - imo it hinders rather than enhances basic human interaction.

 

Once websites pop-up to exhibit collections of nasty or embarrassing pictures/videos of people taken surreptitiously with Glass, the mainstream media will pick the story up, and there will be a public backlash. The minute someone sees a video of themselves on a website asking "so you're not recording this, right?" is the end of Glass. Google Wave it bye-bye.

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post #38 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

By definition, if you're wearing Google Glass, you're a dork. So, it doesn't matter how cool you are before you put it on, once you do you're a dork.

Why not a brand new word to differentiate Google users? You know, the kind of person who is truly a sheep and is too stupid to want technology to integrate with their life... instead of the other way around.

Why not just call them googs?

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post #39 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

I think the word you wanted there was 'surreptitiously', not 'anonymousely'. Anonymice don't spy on you.

 

Anonymouse, FTW. 1smile.gif

 

I'm surprised it didn't auto correct for him. Must be an Android thing.

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post #40 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

 

Every component of Glass is almost certainly controllable via software.

The red light should definitively be hardwired, and if the led is dead, then the camera is dead too.

 

Google has to take this privacy issue very seriously, because it could kill the product.

 

On a side note, if I were a bar owner, I wouldn't ban the GG, but I'd probably put some tape on the camera to tranquilize the other clients.

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