I was lucky enough to spend an hour today finding out a bit more about Google Glass than I knew yesterday (which I’ll confess didn’t extend much beyond tittle tattle about the people working on Glass).
Bob Schukai (left) head of mobile technology for Thompson Reuters kindly made the trip from London, presumably having first made the hop over from the US, to show us his Glass which he’s had for a year. Bob is one of the 8,000 people given Google Glass to try out, after having come through a selection process based on best Twitter hashtags.
OK Glass, so what did I find out?
1. Bob loves his Glass and wears it most of the time – except when he goes to theme parks like Disney and then he wears them on top of his head so it’s clear he’s not taking pictures of other people’s kids.
2. He’s been through two sets of Glass already as they’re not very weather resistant.
3. They are great for interviewing people informally but not very good in noisy places – the mic’s not brilliant to be honest. Plus you need to remember not to move your head up and down if the interviewee says something you agree with.
4. They’re great for running, walking and cycling if you want to take a picture or capture footage of the view. Taking pics of those special ‘Oh my God what a sunrise’ moments while out running is one of Bob’s favourite uses for Glass.
5. They’re really useful when you travel to a new place as they’ll tell you what’s around you and nearby. Handy if you haven’t visited somewhere before.
6. You can hold a video conference with someone else with Google Glass really easily. Unless it has to be done via BBC wifi, in which case you can’t.
7. The push notifications Glass sends you based on your interests and habits are handy and really save on time spent fiddling with your phone.
8. Looking up and out of the world instead of down at your phone is the other great thing about Glass for Bob. Makes particular sense for people in things like law enforcement to be upright and alert when receiving information, he believes.
Will Glass go mainstream if and when it’s launched commercially? Bob’s not sure. He’d definitely have one and says the pluses far outweigh the ‘creepy’ aspects to Glass, such as: looking like a tech geek; talking to yourself; and the privacy issues raised in a world where we can all photograph or film our lives and each other without it being obvious we’re doing so.
Bob thinks what this does for personal privacy while in public spaces is yet to come out in the wash – and is it really so different to what CCTV is already doing in the name of safety? I couldn’t stay for the demo of Glass, as the queue to try on Bob’s snaked around the room – but here’s my colleague Gemma aka @RetroWench having a go.
Thanks to @MarcSettle from the BBC College of Journalism for organising this event.