Google Glass Review

on Friday, October 10, 2014

Google wants to prove there's more than meets the eye when it comes to Glass.

Despite being a beta product, Google Glass is available to buy in the UK priced at £1000. Whilst aimed at the developer community, anyone over the age of 18 can purchase a pair.

Does Glass have what it takes to revolutionise the way we interact with our environment? Or is it a whimsical idea Google is trying to force upon the masses?
After testing out the latest edition of Glass, we feel the device has potential.
Use Cases Even if Google Glass does not take off as a consumer product, it has a number of use cases within the business environment. High-profile trials are being carried out by the US Air Force, Virgin Atlantic, NYPD and also in hospitals.
Glass also has the potential to help the disabled communicate more effectively. MindRDR is one such app, which allows users to take picture with Glass using their mind. The ultimate aim is to add features so people with severe multiple sclerosis, quadriplegia and locked-in syndrome.

Wearing Glass 

Glass isn't like a smartphone or tablet. No matter how many demos you watch, the only way to get a feel for the device is by wearing it. I wasn’t sure what to expect when putting Glass on for the first time. It sat lopsided on the table and looked weird and bulky.
Pick it up and you'll be surprised by how lightweight (50g) and robust it is. The frame is sturdy, but you won't want to drop it as the lens has no protection.
Glass is simple to use. To switch it on you tap the right hand frame and a heads-up

display (HUD) pops up in front of your eyes. The effect is like seeing a 4-5in smartphone hovering horizontally a few feet in front of your face. The HUD has a 640 x 360 pixel count, and Google claims it’s like looking at a 25in HD screen from 8 feet away. The interface is navigated by touching the frame and using voice commands prefaced by the words 'Ok Glass'. Both are accurate and responsive and make the wearable device easy to use.

The lens sits over your right eye, but it’s possible to adjust the hinge and move the heads-up-display so it’s close to the centre of your face.
When the HUD display is off, the device doesn’t block your vision. But you will feel self conscious, especially when you’re the only person in the vicinity wearing Glass.
The device looks infinitely better when you clip on the see-through lenses or sunglass attachments which are included in the box. The latter giving the wearer a look akin to The Terminator.
Talking to someone who is wearing Glass feels awkward as you’re drawn to the lens and camera protruding from their forehead. You can tell when someone else is using Glass as you’ll see light reflected in the lens. But even when they’re giving you their full attention they are looking at you through the lens. It would be preferable if the hinge would lift up so the lens can be moved completely out of the way.
What can you do with Glass?
Glass needs to be connected to the internet to be fully operational, but this is common for all of today's smart devices. Google is positioning Glass as a standalone product and not as a companion device like smartwatches.
Still, it's possible to connect Glass to your smartphone via Bluetooth using the My Glass app. This provides a second screen experience, mirroring whatever you see through your lens.
So what's it like to use Glass? The homescreen displays the time and from here you can initiate a voice command to either start an app or perform a core functional. These commands need to be prefaced by the term ‘Ok Glass...’, and whenever you say the words, a prompt pops up on screen.
It's possible to ask Glass to:
  • Take a picture
  • Record a video
  • Get directions to...
  • Send a message to...
  • Make a call to...
  • Make a video call to...
  • Start a stopwatch
  • Listen to...
  • Translate this
We tested the basic voice commands and the responses were fast and accurate. When asked factual questions such as: 'Ok Glass, who's the 23rd President of the US?', the device popped up with a picture of Benjamin Harrison and read the answer out as well.
This brings us to another interesting point: there are no headphones attached to Glass. It transmits sound to your right ear via Bone Conduction technology. Sound is clear - and is barely audible to people around you. But the Google offices were quiet at the time of our visit and we've yet to see how Glass will perform in a noisy environment.
Text translation via the Word Lens app was one of the best features we tried. Glass zoomed in on a sizeable chunk of text and translated it from English to Spanish instantly. At this time it's also possible to translate from English to German, Italian or Portuguese and visa versa.


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