Last week I got an email from Google informing me that I would be one of the first people to get Google Glass.
I had been anticipating this moment for years. We started hearing rumors of Google Glass a few years ago, but it wasn’t until last May, at Google I/O, that we saw people wearing them. And we all saw Sergey Brin sitting on the subway five months ago. They were being spotted in bars and around NYC and SF with greater frequency. Finally the day had come when I would get to bring mine home.
I had the opportunity to play with a pair at a Google event in February. But I was really curious about what it would be like to actually have them on my face out in the wild: on subway rides, first dates, at the office, and in bars.
This post isn't about the metaphorical discussions around Glass and its impact on the future, however interesting those debates might be. I also want to avoid giving my insights, at least yet. It's just about wearing Glass. Here's a recap of my first 24 hours of wearing Glass (sports and sleeping not included).
Holy Shit, Today is the Day
At 3pm on April 25, Dustin (my plus-one) and I headed over to the 8th floor of Chelsea Market — a gorgeous, sun-filled loft. It felt nothing like previous Google events I’d attended, which were crowded but modest. Two young, friendly Glass-wearers took our IDs and showed us inside.
We were escorted into a beautiful lofted space, with windows and mirrors everywhere.
After Marina, our Glass Guide, greeted us, we sat down to get set up. We accepted free champagne because nothing says day drinking like momentous and historical advances in personal computing. Then she took us over to a wall to try on all the different color options that Glass is available in (teal, orange, shale, charcoal and white).
These days, so much emphasis is placed on the unboxing experience, and this one certainly did not disappoint.
Setup is painless. I downloaded the Android app, synced the Glass and my Android phone together, and was ready to go. My first text message, to my colleague Amanda, said, “hi from the glasses.”
I know, not very creative. But cmonnn. I was able to text Amanda simply by speaking a few words. And the amazing thing is — it worked. No fussing, no fucking up. It sent her what I wanted to say, and then Glass faded into my periphery.
After another glass of champagne, it was time to go out into the wild.
Stop #1 — The Office
They all knew what Google Glass was, but most have never seen it, so everyone immediately everyone gathered around. I passed them around so everyone could give them a try.
This was fun, but the day was over, and it was time to head back out into the world.
Stop #2 — The Subway
We hopped on the L train into Williamsburg. We were a group of four, two of whom were wearing Glass. So we got a lot of curious looks and stares, but no questions or interactions.
Walking the streets of New York was much more interesting. One guy almost tripped over the sidewalk doing a double/triple/quadruple take of us. It was hard not to laugh.
Some hipster girl on a bike yelled “FUCK YOU AND YOUR GOOGLE GLASS!”
A nice, young couple came up to us and asked us some questions on the street while we were waiting for a friend and then asked to take a picture.
Stop #3 — Meatball Shop
We walked into the Meatball Shop and put our names down for a table. After we sat down, the waitress asked what was on our faces. When we explained what it was — a computer, but for your face — she said, “Weird,” and walked away.
The conversation was a total dud. I realized that explaining this thing to people who have never heard of it was going to be a process.
Stop #4 — Brooklyn Bowl
We went to a concert of Killer Mike and Big Boi that night at Brooklyn Bowl. Inside the venue people were looking but not really saying anything.
The moment the music started was one of Glass’s finest moments. I recorded 720p videos of song clips and the entire rendition of ”The Whole World,” and captured photos — and I didn’t have to take my phone out once. Although you do have to try and keep your head still, the content I captured was beautiful, and the sound and video quality are ridiculous.
The next stop was One Stop Beer Shop, my local bar. The first bartender, Michelle, said, “You are an idiot, what are you doing with that on your face?”
The other bartender, Claire, said “OMG!!! You have those!!! Wowwww!”
A couple of other regulars were curious, and we chat about it until around 1am.
Stop #5 — Prospective Office Space, Chinatown
We are looking for new office space, so a few of us went to check one out in Chinatown.
I had never been to this building before, so when I got off the subway I asked Glass to take me to the address.
Navigating with Glass is unreal. A Google maps navigation comes up on the screen, showing where you are and where to go. As you walk, it updates in your eye, so you only have to glance at it occasionally to see where you are going.
Again, it just worked. I believe I had to speak the address twice for it to get it right. But it got me right to the door from the subway with no fuss. The direction of the arrow was correct for the direction in which I was walking, and I made it there without running into any piles of garbage or old fish.
Not everyone in the company could come to check out the space, and as a result, I took some photos and video with my Glass and shared them then and there to all of my colleagues via Google+. After watching the video, they felt they didn’t need to go see the space themselves.
The cool part about shooting video with Glass is that wherever you look, you are filming. You don’t really need to think about where the camera is, as it’s just your field of view.
You can activate it by asking Glass to “record a video” or “take a picture,” or you can click a shortcut button on the top of the device to do either. I find myself using both ways, but definitely the button shortcut more.
Stop #6 — Red Egg
After checking out the office, we stopped at Red Egg for some dim sum.
We sat down, ordered food, and finished our lunch. Nobody really noticed or said anything, but Glass was on the whole time.
Then one of the waitresses came over.
“What is that?”
“Shes like is it a microcomputer on your head?”
“Yeah exactly… Do you want to try it?”
“Yeah sit down and we will show you.”
We played the video we took of the office space and had her place it on her head. And all she had to say was: