Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Sergey Brin’

An experience with Google Glass

September 14, 2013 Leave a comment

I had an experience with some step-change technology recently that reinforced how sometimes your opinion is worthless until you’ve actually tried something.

I’m talking about Google Glass. Last month I had the great privilege of visiting Google’s  Googleplex campus in Mountain View, San Francisco, and found myself wearing a pair of the internet connected eyeware.

Like every other person on the tech-obsessive-geek-scale I had read much and watched as many videos as I could when these glasses were first announced. I had followed Google’s founder and Head of Innovation Sergey Brin as introduced Google Glass through a team sky-diving from a Zeppelin, filming their descent live on the internet using Google Glasses.

I had also looked at the media around the first prototype, bulkier versions and thought – “no way”. And I’d certainly had more than a few water-cooler conversations around the potentially socially-awkward nature of talking to someone else while wearing a pair of glasses behind which you may or may not be searching information on that person or filming them.

“Remember when video cameras first came on phones and everyone was worried you’d be filmed in the changing room”, remarked one male colleague.

“What if you’re standing by a children’s playground wearing one of those? How could you prove you’re just looking at the sports results and not some videophile.”

The whole action of someone’s eye’s flicking upwards and away from you to look at an invisible screen while in conversation just silently screamed as being socially unacceptable.

And to be honest my encounter with Google Glasses at Mountain View couldn’t answer those questions completely. But what I did learn was that as a user the experience was quite amazing and which left me hungering for more. The experience was so positive any previous doubts suddenly vanished into the air like soap bubbles.

The frames are very very light, stylish but robust. I wear glasses everyday and they felt just as comfortable as my frames do.

The right hand frame arm is where the glasses gear is kept and that was barely wider than some designer frames you get on regular glasses.

To fire up Google Glass you simply say “Ok Glass” and suddenly there’s a screen that seems about the size of a widescreen TV hovering at what appears a metre or so away from your eyes, slightly up to the right. When you look up at it the screen it appears to move down into your path of vision.

You can use a number of voice commands to call up maps; Google search; take a picture and other commands to send or share via Google+, Facebook or Twitter. Or you can tap and swipe down with your fingers on the right hand frame.

Sound comes through sound waves going through your cranium, rather than via your ears. It feels a bit weird at first but then is quite natural. And apparently the Project X team at Google have had reports from deaf users that they can now hear things again – an amazing and unexpected spin-off.

You are suddenly hands-free on everything your smartphone can offer you. It really is like the first time you take your hands off the handlebars of a bike – it’s a rush! You act a bit crazy.

After a few minutes it was amazing how comfortable it felt having the internet literally right in your face. I felt like a learner driver – and my New Zealand accent was giving the glasses some pause for thought – but very quickly it had gone from feeling like a sci-fi experience to one of usefulness and joy.

Sergey Brin’s vision right from the start of founding Google was that one day search queries would be irrelevant – the right information would just come straight to you. He believes Google Glass is that vision made manifest. He talks more about the philosophy of Google Glass in this Ted Talk.

I believe there is one set of Google Glasses in New Zealand being worn by an artist somewhere down south. He was given them by Google to aid with sculpture but now apparently uses them in every part of his day. He told them he couldn’t go back to life without them.

If I’d read that before wearing them I probably would’ve scoffed at that remark. Google Glass are definitely the shock of the new – and I guess sometimes you just have to physically experience the new for it to make sense.

Advertisements