For those who are not aware, Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with a mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Glass is a truly amazing technology and years before its time.
|Google Glass 2|
After unknowingly trying out Google Glass 2 several weeks before it was announced, I was sold and could not wait to get my hands on a pair. I jumped at the opportunity to be part of Google’s Glass Explorer program and have been using the latest version of Google Glass for several days.
|New Google Glass Rear|
Unlike the first iteration of Google Glass, which had to be picked up in person from one of three locations, the latest version can be shipped or picked up. According to the information provided during the checkout process, Glass orders may take up to 48 hours to process. I ordered Glass at 7:03 PM EST on Monday, it shipped at 11:10 PM EST Monday and arrived at my front door at 9:56 AM EST on Tuesday. I could not believe how fast my shipment arrived. I don’t think anything has ever arrived so fast. You can bet Glass fulfillment is something currently being tested and monitored.
|Google Glass 2 in box|
In addition to new shipping options and awesome packaging, the latest iteration of Glass includes several new accessories. According to Google, “Each Glass comes with a protective pouch to store your Glass. To store, simply slide Glass in so that your display is snug within the hard protective housing at the bottom of the pouch.”
|Google Glass Pouch|
The pouch is soft, high quality and well designed except for the fact that my Glass does not seem to fit inside with the Shade accessory attached.
|Glass is larger than pouch with Shade attached|
Google Glass 2 also includes a detachable glass “Shade” by Maui Jim and Zeal Optics. “Shades” appear to be very high quality, custom made for Glass and include a custom made protective case with Glass logo. Attaching Shades to Google Glass is easy.
|Google Glass Shade|
|Google Glass Shade|
As shown in the video below, attaching Shades to Glass could not be easier:
In addition to the Pouch and Shade, Glass 2 also includes an earpiece which attaches to the same micro-usb port used for charging. I can hear Glass fine and have not used this accessory yet. Contrary to a number of reports I have read, using the new earpiece is optional.
|Google Glass Earpiece|
|Google Glass Earpiece|
In addition to these new accessories, Google Glass 2 also comes with a charger. The charger is solid, high quality and features the Glass logo.
Setting up Glass 2 and syncing it with my Motorola Moto-X only took a few minutes. That said, I did accidentally take a photo and somehow post it online without having any idea that I had done so while setting up Glass. Note to self, use caution when setting up Glass. It probably is not a good idea to setup Glass in the restroom or similar situation.
|Photo taken with Glass|
Contrary to claims I have heard in the past, Glass does not get in the way of seeing the world around you. Walking into poles, parking meters or other things is not really a problem. In reality, Glass is actually really small and in some ways even difficult to look at for extended periods of time. People don’t look at you weird on the street when you are wearing Glass. Some folks will try to stop you to ask questions about Glass. Several strangers have even asked to try on my Glass. I suspect that it is only a matter of time before thieves start using this approach to steal Glass. As a result, it is probably a good idea not to wear your Glass in some locations and/or to have a good excuse ready.
All in all Google Glass is an amazing piece of technology and seems to have almost unlimited potential in terms of apps, covers, cases and other accessories. I can’t wait to see proximity based Glass apps or apps like night vision, thermal imaging, range finders, compasses, altimeters, pedometers, activity monitors and the like. I have never use a Bluetooth headset before but, anyone who does will absolutely love Glass.
|Designed By Google|
As much as I hate to say it, so far I’m more than a little mixed on the latest version of Google Glass and I have even considered returning it. In the past when I have tried out Glass, it was always a Google test device that I was told was “not fully enabled.” As a result my expectations appear to have been a little out of line with the reality of the current device.
|Google Glass Explorer Card|
While trying out Glass in the past, I don’t remember ever seeing a phone. When you see folks jumping out of airplanes wearing Glass but no phone, you don’t realize how dependent Glass is on your phone. My expectation was that Glass would be more of a replacement for my phone than an amazingly souped up Bluetooth headset. I can’t wait to see 4g integrated into Glass.
Battery life is another issue. According to a number of reports, battery life was supposed to be addressed in the latest version. I am not sure it has been addressed. My new Glass takes 2 hours to fully charge but the battery dies after an hour and a half of use. Because of the position of the charger, wearing Glass while it is charging is not really an option.
|Google Glass Battery|
From a search marketing / web design perspective, Glass clearly illustrates the importance of responsive design. Sites (like this one) that are not responsive are an absolute nightmare to navigate on Glass. Instead of scrolling through search results like you can on most mobile devices, Glass uses black and white cards that remind me of unix. On Glass you scroll from side to side rather than up and down. Interestingly there are no ads in search results on Glass.
|New Google Glass|
For those who are interested, the user-agent for the new version of Google Glass is "Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.0.4; en-us; Glass 1 Build/IMM76L; XE10) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30."