Jul 19, 2013

Google Glass Review !

     Hey guys, sorry Ive beeb gone for so long, but I have just been very busy lately. No need to fear, Bradley is here with some more tech news for you. This time Im here with a review of Google Glass the explorer edition. I was able to get my hands on one. 

     I'd expected a lot more from Google Glass. The hype around this wearable device – a pair of glasses which incorporate a little screen in the top right of your right eye's field of vision – has been colossal since the release of the first teaser video in April 2012.
Glasses that let you see a map without using your smartphone! Hands-free Googling! Sergey Brin, the Google co-founder who had been spotted wearing them in a carefully careless manner on the New York subway, suggested that using a smartphone was "emasculating", and the company sold around 10,000 to "explorers" who are, right now, its guinea pigs. It's the future – or is it?
     I'd thought so, until I had a tryout with a pair. My reaction? They're great for particular uses, but you're going to struggle to find a use for them all the time. They're not going to replace looking at your smartphone any time soon. Emasculation may be here to stay, Mr Brin.
     I'm a fan of wearable computing. I own a Pebble watch, and love it. If someone calls or texts my smartphone, the number and/or the message pops up, with no need to take the phone out of my pocket. I've tried ski goggles which displayed my speed and altitude, as well as a map of the ski resort showing runs and lifts. 
     So I was expecting a lot from Google Glass. Perhaps too much.
     The device, lent to me by one of the explorers (whom I won't name, as Google has been known to disable devices), is pleasantly light. You can wear it without lenses, so you just have the frame, and a little lens above your eye. It doesn't feel strange, though of course weirdness is in the eye of the beholder. And I wear that Pebble, so don't ask me for style tips. The frame is made of titanium, which you can happily bend to fit your face without breaking. 
                                                  Getting Started:

     You turn Glass on by tilting your head up, or tapping the side of the frame. This activates the tiny screen. It then just shows the time, and the phrase "OK Glass", which seems to float about six inches in front of the right of your face.
     Say "OK Glass", or tap the side again, and you get a menu – options such as "Google … ", "take a picture", "record a video", "get directions to … ", "send a message to … ", "make a call to … ", "hang out with … " – the latter being a shared video feed. All require a smartphone connected via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to function. Otherwise Glass is just a fancy low-res camera.
     The menu is too long to fit onto the screen, so you have to learn to tilt your head up or down to see the others (though after time you'd remember them).
     You then say aloud what you want: "Get directions to King's Cross", or "Google 'how high is the Empire State Building'". The voice recognition is accurate, though it misfired a few times on the Empire State Building, which we tried a few times for our film. The results are read back to you by a microphone just beside your ear using bone conduction, so it's almost inaudible to outsiders.
     Of course, you won't have been inaudible. By this stage you've already given your instructions to the crowded train carriage. You're also wearing something that makes you look like something from Star Trek's Borg, with no lenses. Normal people don't do this. If you were worried about what people think of you using this technology, you might not have left the house.
     Taking pictures and videos is easy. You don't even have to say: "OK Glass, take a picture". You can just press a button on the top of the sidepiece, or hold it down for video. There's no warning to anyone around you that you're doing so, no red light, no audible click. That seems like a potential privacy concern, and very different from the situation that has pertained ever since mobile phones became camera phones.
     The best use for Glass, said the explorer who lent it to me, is for maps. You don't have to pull your smartphone out of your pocket when you're walking around somewhere unfamiliar. All you do is ask for directions, and it updates the display.
     OK Glass, that's great. But is it worth the estimated $500 (£330) to $1,000 cost? It's hard to see, especially considering the nitty-gritty of trying to make the device work nicely with a smartphone, which consumed about half an hour of our time as we tried to join Wi-Fi networks (it can't join password-protected ones) and link over Bluetooth (it kept dropping the connection). 
                                                      Final Thoughts:

     Since this is just basically a dummy model, a beta you could say, I cant give a final rating. For now I think that Google should take a lot of time to focus on Glass, because right now I dont find it as interesting as I had hoped. PEACE !