Glassholes are People Too
In what seems to have been some excellent foresight, Google’s Glass Explorers website lays out some pretty clear guidelines about the dos and don’ts of wearing their product. They warn users about the dangers of “glassing out” or “staring off into the prism” for too long, about sticking out in public, about using Glass in inappropriate spaces, and about being a “Glasshole” (yes, Google themselves have adopted the word). “Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy, be polite and explain what Glass does,” the website suggests. “Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.”
“Of course Explorers stand out,” says H. David Shaw, a Glass Explorer who lives in Karachi, Pakistan, and has had his Glass since last November. “They all have something new and it is literally on their face.”
Not only is it something new, it also comes with a very limited edition feel of exclusivity. These puppies went on the market on April 15th for one day only. There were no reports of website crashes, Internet glut, or stock running out except for the evidently more popular white-framed model.
Part of this Glass-knocking, paranoia, and nerd-bashing relates to a lack of understanding about what Glass even is. There are many misconceptions about what Explorers are using them for. One of the most common concerns about Glass is that the wearer might be recording everything you do in their presence without consent. According to the PCMag review, this is mostly a baseless fear: if a wearer is recording you, it’s obvious because they will be looking above your face at their screen, and there will be a slight eerie glow emanating from behind the lenses.
One Explorer, Oliver Madsen of Fairbanks, Alaska, suggested that adding a red recording light onto the front of the camera so others could know when it is on could alleviate concerns about privacy. Madsen doesn’t mind that Glass is still in developmental stages, saying “The main appeal for me was the chance to get something before it was ready for the world, to have a little bit of the future.”
“One app I really like and am excited to see the future of is called Worldlense,” Madsen continues. “It analyzes an image of text in one language through the camera, then replaces the text with the same words, translated into a different language. It is far from perfect now, but I think it’s gonna get better.”
Shaw is similarly excited to see how Glass will evolve. “I’m not a techie or a technophile, I just love tech toys,” he says. “To be on the cutting edge of a new technology is great. Glass is handy. It allows me to do a lot of things while keeping my eyes front rather than being stuck in my device. But we are all still just beta testers, some of us longer than others. There are a lot of improvements needed, but it is still a really cool device.”
Some pretty standard functions use voice controls to do things like search on Google, take pictures or video, navigate maps, send emails and text messages, and make phone calls. IFTTT, Google Now, news, and Twitter were listed by users as some of their favourite apps. There aren’t many apps available through Google yet but they plan to make more.
If Explorers can’t wait to dive into their new augmented reality, there are some pretty cool apps and mods coming out of the Glass-hacking and developer community. Toronto hosted the second-ever Glass Hackathon on April 25-27 of this year, organized by independent game developer and Google Glass Pioneer Macy Kuang.