Last Saturday (July 26), my husband and I went to a Google event to try the famous Google glasses. We had registered online a few days before and were supposed to get there between 11am and 12pm.
The event was taking place at the Cyclorama in downtown Boston. We get there around 11am. As soon as we approach the entrance, we can see a couple of girls wearing black t-shirts with the “Glass” logo on them. One of them asks us if we own any “wearables”. At first we look confused and wonder what she means, we finally understand that she is asking us if we own a pair of Google glasses. Obviously the answer was no. She gives us a little pamphlet that explains the different things we can do with the glasses and lets us go.
When we then enter the venue and start climbing stairs. A couple of persons are waiting, but it is less crowded than I thought it would be. At the top of the stairs there are a couple of long tables with Google people sitting behind. A girl is monitoring the new comers and leading them to those table. When It is finally our turn, she asks us if we registered online and then sends us to one of those tables. We confirm our identity and get a “glass” stamp on our hands.
After that we put in groups of about ten. We first are given a demonstration of 5 minutes. The girl shows us examples of questions we can ask to the glasses and how to give commands. We are then finally led to a stand where they lend us a pair of glasses to try.
First impression: It is definitely quite impressive once you put them on and you see as if you had a screen in front of you. After adjusting the little plastic square on my right side in order to see the screen clearly, I decide to give a try.
I speak my first command “Ok Glass…”I see the menu appear where I can see all the different command options I can do and I keep going “what’s the weather in Paris?”… Nothing happens. I try again, still nothing. I see my husband next to me, he is having no difficulties. I wonder if it is my accent or maybe I am not being loud enough. I try again louder and doing my best at enunciating every word. Still nothing. I am starting to be a little disappointed. Thankfully, the girl responsable for that stand is very helpful and tells me that they might need a reset, so she gives me another pair. I take a deep breath and ask again “Ok glass, what’s the weather in Paris?”. The screen changes and I get a result page with the temperature in Paris! It works! I don’t stop there, I start taking pictures, doing more searches and trying everything that comes to mind. It works, that’s a given, but I do find that the motions you need to do with your fingers on the side are not that easy to master.
After we are done messing around with the glasses, there are two other stands we can go to. They each promote a different app. The one in the middle of the room has some basketball hoops and a huge line to try it, so we decide to skip that one.
We go to the last stand. It has some posters with sentences in other languages. The app is supposed to translate them for you and replace the words when you look at them. I give it a try “Ok glass, translate this”. A small blue square appears on my screen. I am supposed to fit the sentence on the poster into that square. Once that is done it translates it for you. When I move the words get a little distorted and it’s even worse if someone walks in front of me. Another little inconvenience of this app is that you need to know which language you are translating from in order to put it beforehand in the settings. The girl at the stands argues that when you travel you usually know what language the country you’re in speaks. I guess she has a point, but I am still not fully satisfied by the app.
In conclusion, I did enjoy trying them and playing around with them. I do think that they can be distracting and would never drive with them or wear them to a dinner party. You can tell that there are still in Beta and that there is still room for improvement, however being completely honest if they were much cheaper (I believe they are currently worth $1,500), I would buy them. I look forward to see their further development and all the applications they’ll come up with.