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What using Google Glass is like

Incoming from Rob Fisher (to whom I owe him a blog posting about this talk that he gave at my home a while back – short version: it was very good):

Finally I found a video that explains to my satisfaction what using Google Glass is like. It’s a display that you wear, that uses clever optics to give the appearance of looking at a 25 inch screen 8 feet away.

Parts of this video are welcome-to-the-future moments.

By the way, these voice commands already work on your phone; tap the microphone symbol top right and say something like “wake me up at 8am”.

My phone being the Google Nexus 4 that I have been going on about lately, for example in the previous posting here.

I won’t be watching this video in the immediately immediate future as I have other things to be getting on with. But I definitely will very soon.

What Rob says about voice commands is interesting, I think. I have long suspected that a big computer leap would occur when we stopped communicating with computers by typing on them, and instead just talked to them. “Jeeves, what’s that thingy where the thingamajig I was talking about yesterday is yellow instead of black?” “Do you perhaps mean this, sir?” “Yes, that’s the thing. You’re a genius Jeeves!” “One does one’s best sir.” Etc.

8 comments to What using Google Glass is like

  • OldYeoman

    That is a fascinating bit of technology – be fascinating to see how well (or indeed if) it catches on. Suspect I might find myself somewhere near the front of the queue once they go on sale…

    Actually had my own bit of unexpected Google amazement last weekend, which I suspect uses some of the same technology – took a photo (using the normal camera app on my Nexus 4) of the scoreboard at Wembley stadium. Almost immediately I got a notification up saying it had recognised I was at Wembley and offering to tell me about it – definitely exciting, but also a bit unnerving…

    Does seem to be something Google are pretty good at – bringing together different areas of business & research – currently quite engrossed with their game Ingress, which involves visiting various landmarks around cities and towns. They’re using the data from this to build another app called Field Trip to notify you when you’re in the vicinity of something interesting and tell you about it. Both of which would be interesting apps to port to Glass too…

  • Laird

    Good video; thanks for sharing it. Makes me want to get Google Glass!

    Also, thanks for the tip about the smart phone already having those functions. I have a Galaxy S3 and never knew what that microphone symbol was for, but it works!

  • I am avoiding anything made or owned by Google like a plague, unless I can disable scripts and cookies. Gmail is of concern, of course, and so is YT. Oh well.

  • Sam Duncan

    For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by new technology. As a kid, Tomorrow’s World was by far my favourite TV show (the medical bits excepted), and at the age of 10 I was pestering my parents to buy me a ZX81 for my birthday. (Right now I feel rather the same way about the various private space firms: get on with it, I can’t wait!)

    My reaction to Google Glass, though? “Meh” pretty much sums it up. Yes, it’s very clever – don’t think I can’t appreciate that – but I simply don’t see myself ever using it. Alisa touches on one reason – DuckDuckGo, folks – but more than that, if there’s one thing I hate, it’s when computers (or rather, their programmers) try to second-guess what you want to do. I always tell people that the main reason I use the particularly geeky flavour of Linux that I do is that it does what it’s told. If I edit a config file, it doesn’t decide, next time I boot up, that I didn’t really want that option, and overwrite it (as many, many, systems do on a regular basis). I can see any Google Glass device in my posession meeting the floor at high speed within about ten minutes.

    As for voice control, there are times when I can barely talk to people (usually first thing in the morning). The last thing I want is to speak to machines as well.

  • Laird

    Sam, it seems to me that one of the primary functions of a successful company is to anticipate (“secnd-guess”, in your term) what its customers want to do. The more often they get that right the more successful they’ll be. And most of us aren’t tech geeks like you; I haven’t tried to edit a config file since the days of MS-DOS and don’t expect to. I rather like it when I’m doing a search and misspell something the computer manages to figure out what I want anyway. It’s like having Jeeves around.

    But I agree with you (and Alisa) about being cautious when using anything Google. DuckDuckGo is fine but my preference is StartPage. Same idea, though.

  • I’m so ‘me-too’ on what Sam said. Sadly, Linux is not for me for all kinds of reasons.

  • NickM

    I like the glass concept up to a point. I’m vaguely amazed it has taken so long. I assume it’s the optics but wasn’t Bruce Sterling writing about “Spex” like 20 years ago. But, but, but if there is one thing I can’t stand about the direction of computer tech is the directing you. Like Sam and Alisa said. Now perhaps this due to growing up with a CLI and being a fast keyboarder but it seems this new stuff is way to invasive.

    Here’s an analogy. I like flight sims but I couldn’t hack the Falcon series. Why? It is virtually impossible to stall an F-16. Not so with an F-86 Sabre. Which is more fun? Guess!

    Now I appreciate, obviously, the F-16 is the better jet but my life don’t depend on it.

    I have played around with voice rec and it is a Polonius – a pain up the arras. Give me a CLI anytime.

    Is the Linux thing at least partially to with Trados? It’s a bloody nightmare.

  • I don’t use Trados Nick (I’m told it’s a nightmare even on Windows – I use MemoQ. Tell her it’s great and supposed to be Trados-compatible). It’s even before I get to CATs: it begins with the basic need to use MS Office.