Over the weekend at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, I had the opportunity to briefly try on Google's (GOOG) next-generation gadget, Google Glass.
The experience was interesting, to say the least.
The frames do not feel heavy on your face, and I did not notice any difference in weight from my normal glasses. Because they're made of metal, Glass is durable too. It can be bent and twisted and quickly return to its normal state.
The current design is dorky, but hopefully before they ship, Google can work to make Glass sleeker and not so noticeable.
After you place Glass on your face and adjust them, a small screen appears in your peripheral vision in the top right corner. Because the screen is so tiny it's difficult to photograph exactly what Glass looks like.
The screen is initially distracting because you always want to look up at it, but once users are familiar with it being there I don't see that remaining a problem.
Here's an example of what I saw, this is a dramatization. The actual screen is tiny and it doesn't block your entire field of vision as this one does:
The right side of Glass, where the battery rests, is touch-sensitive. It's used to scroll through the various screens.
What I did realize, is that Google needs to offer a solution for individuals who wear glasses. The little screen seems far away.
Because of my poor vision (I'm near-sighted), all I could make out was the time, but I see Google's vision for users being able to easily keep up with tweets, status updates, participate in Google Hangouts, get directions, and more.
Glass allows you to speak to it too. If your hands are tied up you simply say, "Ok glass," and begin speaking a command like "send a message" or "get me directions".
Speaking to Glass might take some getting used to. Another person who used them tried the voice diction and remarked that they had to speak to Glass twice. They were told this was because they didn't speak quickly enough between "Ok Glass" and the command.
I'm excited to see the different ways that developers create apps for the device. There is an opportunity to create some really dynamic experiences for users.
Here's what glass looks like when you ask it for walking directions:
Now that I've tried on the gadget and they are more than something I've seen in pictures and videos I believe that Glass is something that could take off.
The price (currently $1500 for developers and "special individuals") is a huge barrier stopping Glass from becoming a hit with the masses and not just the elite.
I'm looking forward to spending more time with Google Glass and getting a better understanding of how the technology works, but just trying them on was an awesome experience.
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