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Living with Google Glass, Day Two: Around the House

Tim Stevens
04.26.13
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"You look ridiculous." This was not exactly the reaction I was hoping to receive from my wife the first time she saw me wearing Glass. She was long-since asleep when I arrived late the night before, and so had missed my triumphant, technologically augmented homecoming. I confess Google Glass is a bit odd-looking, but my wife is even more of a hardcore Trekker than I am and I thought somehow this headgear would channel her deep-seated love for bizarre, high-tech facial appendages.

Nope. She wasn't the least bit impressed. When she tried them later, she came around a bit, but spent more time saying the silicone grippers pinched her nose than reveling in the potential future applications of such technology. You can't please everybody.

My first full day spent wearing Glass would be a rare one: a full day working at home. Well, almost full. I had to make a run into town to take care of some business, which proved to be a perfect opportunity to spend more time experimenting with the navigation in Glass.

From what I can tell so far, this is the most comprehensive aspect of the headset. You can select a destination in a few ways, speaking the address being the default. You can also search for a business by name or category and get directions that way, but if you have your Android phone paired, you can just use Maps normally and then, when asking for navigation, the phone will inquire whether you'd like to use Glass. In fact, I did.

Living with Google Glass, Day Two Around the House

You can select walking, driving or bicycling navigation -- sadly no public transport yet. Once you're going, your path is shown as a blue arrow over a scrolling map. It's being rendered in real-time, but it's important to understand that this isn't proper augmented reality stuff. You'll see the arrow pointing on a map where to go, but if you turn your head, that arrow doesn't swivel around to stay pointed in the right direction. At least, it doesn't yet, but I have a feeling that'll come in a future update.

Now you'll note that I said above "if" you have your phone paired. Pairing with a phone is not necessarily a requirement for using Glass. The thing can work entirely over WiFi and, it's worth pointing out, that if you're pairing to your phone over Bluetooth, you'll likely need to add wireless tethering to your data plan. I'm a Verizon subscriber and will now be looking at an additional monthly cost just to use Glass. As if the $1,500 up-front cost wasn't bad enough.

So yes, you can in theory use Glass out and about with an iPhone or other device that has wireless data enabled, but if you want the full experience (reading and replying to texts, for example), it'll need to be Android. Thankfully, pairing to your Android handset is predictably easy. Just install the MyGlass app and select to pair to a new headset. It'll display a large QR code that you hold in front of Glass' camera and, in a few moments, you're good to go.

As for my experience on day two, other than directions downtown and back, I honestly struggled to find a good use for Glass. I was typically standing in front of my dual-monitor desktop, so any notification that came through on my headset, I had already seen on my PC. I also answer my calls on Google Voice on my PC and couldn't really find a good reason to keep the thing perched on my head. At home, it just isn't that useful. So, I went and played fetch with my dogs and recorded that. I hope you enjoy.

Next time: the joys of airport security whilst wearing Glass, and a discussion of the available, and the missing, security within the headset itself.

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