18 April
2014

I've been wearing my Google Glass for about a month, on and off. Our lab has been looking more and more at issues of human-robot interaction, and generally making automated systems easier for people to control., and Glass fits into this quite nicely. Today I am posting some assorted thoughts about Glass.

Google has done an excellent job of bringing a very "out there" technology to life in a usable form. Getting such things to market in a usable form is really hard, and this is an amazing feat of design and engineering combined. That said, it's hard to be sure that this technology hits the sweet spot of usability, convenience, comfort and value (not even considering the financial cost of ownership). Google Glass takes some getting used to. This is not an issue of making them comfortable, but rather of finding the right use cases and operating modalities. Even after a month I am still figuring out when and how they make sense.

Glass feels like a prototype for future systems, not an already-optimized solution. Wear Glass is an matter of test-driving the future, not wearing a final solution. This is no surprise: the first cell phones were pretty suboptimal compared to what we have today and Google's incremental rollout was not an accident. The cautionary note here is that people should not set their expectations unrealistically high. The limitations of Glass have been documented widely, and they include limited battery life, a lack of application polish and other factors. This is a brilliant piece of technology, and it's great for research and for getting a taste of the future, but don't expect perfection.

Perhaps the most surprising thing is how quickly they have moved to a very broad rollout to the general public, which entails a lot of risk regarding frustrated users. Google has a great reputation for launching innovative technologies, but has only a borderline image in terms of customer support and follow-through. This is the natural consequence of letting technologies out the door that are still in flux, but it could actually set the effort back if things go pear-shaped with the broad launch not taking place.


By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
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