I’ve never referred to myself as a “techie” or a “tech-whiz” but I understand electronics. Having had a career working avionics on today’s top fighter jets, I have a very balanced and astute understanding of technologies of all sorts. An interest in technology? Yes, I have a pretty health appetite for technology that offers solutions to today’s problems, that help people live better, that offer connectivity, simplicity, and just do things better. However, I am not a guru of any one brand – I am loyal to the best solutions only.
In addition to this, I have a level understanding of social media. I do not pretend to be an expert, because am not. I have 113 Twitter followers because am not aggressive in that, but I am good with social media for institutions. Currently, I am the Social Media Director for Holy Apostles College and Seminary and also the same for Patrick Madrid’s Envoy Institute. Both have successful media platforms and are growing through the saturated world of social media. In addition to my aeronautics education, I hold an MBA, and understand quite well marketing and business development and acquisition. That said, I think I have the qualifications necessary to give a good review of my experience with Google Glass.
I was anticipating Glass quite well. I had the same questions everyone else did: How do they feel? What do you see? Do they record everything? Are they worth the price? How can they be used?
I wasn’t planning on even touching a pair until they were released on a wider scale. Up until early 2014, a set was pretty hard to come by with Google’s “explorers” program and the price tag of $1500 was unconvincing. One day though, I was chatting with my College VP, my boss in fact, and he mentioned to me that he had just received his new set of Glass. He explained to me that I should use them to promote an upcoming event for the Catholic Apologetics Academy in Kansas City. I gladly accepted his offer and he passed them to me weeks later. We had a breakfast and he brought me through the menus, commands, and I was on my way. Pretty simple I thought.
On the road, I put them on and started commanding. “Okay Glass. Record a video”. Easy! I get home later that weekend and realize that I needed to connect Glass to my Wifi, my phone, my accounts. This is where the trouble started for me.
I called the Glass 1-800 number and had to have a specific buyers code to even proceed to get a phone to ring. This code is only given once, at the time of purchase in an email. I contacted my VP, and he searched, eventually finding it and forwarding it to me. Wrong number. He sent the right one and I called in and was connected rather easily to a real person. I liked that. They first asked for my email, and after realizing that I was not the owner, asked for the email the device was bought with. Not registered with, bought with! So, I had to guess at which one of my boss’ emails this was done with. Luckily, I got it right. They also wanted his full name, phone number… You see where I am going. It was difficult to even get started. I understand the security protocols, that they want to mae sure they I had not stolen the Glass.
That was only the start of my frustration. Eventually we ran a factory reset so I could load my information on the Glass. Yes, you have to delete everything in order to register Wifi, social media accounts, make new MyGlass settings, and to let the device become operable to anyone other than the original buyer. You’d think all of this could be done in a simple fashion, think again. Once reset, you have to download the app to your phone (or go online and do the same thing), connect the app to the Wifi account, then go to their site to register your email (which *has* to be Gmail). Only then, can you get the QR code on your phone, then take a picture of it with Glass, and finally are connected to the internet. Did I mention, you have to register a Google+ account in order to do all of this? Good thing I already had one of those useless things.
So my main purpose was to connect social media to Glass. Following their instructions I downloaded the MyGlass apps, on the Glass app (apps on an app), and then had to wait for them to load up to Glass… …. … nothing…
Together, we realized that my Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ accounts were all registered with different emails. Typical? I don’t know. That’s how I do things. In order for Glass to connect with any app, like Twitter or Facebook, they have to be registered with a Gmail account. So, I had to go into each of these accounts, change the email, verify it, then reload the MyGlass app… Then wait… … Worked. Hardly. With Facebook, you can only make status updates with a picture and text, hashtags are possible, but very difficult. You cannot see comments, cannot see other statuses, nothing. Almost the same with Twitter. Oh, the bonus? Glass automatically includes “#throughglass” on all updates. The fun didn’t end there. I am the social media director for a few institutions, registering emails with different accounts. So if I wanted to use Twitter, it had to be with a Gmail account. Well what if I wanted to Tweet for my College’s account? I cannot switch accounts without going through this process once more. Because I will not go through this ordeal every single day, I reluctantly decided to only register Glass with my college’s account, since that was the purpose I had them in the first place.
Facebook? Colleges and other groups have “Pages” on Facebook, not accounts. Does everyone understand the difference? Because the people at Google don’t. One gets “Friends”, the other gets “Likes”. On the phone with them for almost an hour, they either couldn’t figure it out, or didn’t want to tell me what I knew was the problem: Glass cannot connect to Facebook “Pages”, it only connects to an individual’s account. Now you see, my purpose for even having Glass was expunged. The only way I could do post to my College’s Facebook page, was to enable the setting in Twitter to forward the Tweet to Facebook. But… you cannot Tweet text and a picture together with the Twitter app with Glass. Are you confused yet? Needless to say, in the end, they served a very small purpose in my endeavor. I did not end up using much at all during my event in Kansas City because the whole thing was easier to just take pictures with my phone and post directly to whichever account I wanted.
Glass is supposed to work through your phone, but as you see, it is not that simple. Though your phone can register apps with simple login information, Google Glass makes you register everything with them. How nice. Next, let’s explore the inherent qualities of Glass, and Google’s tactics in general.
Likes and Dislikes
What did I like?
– Video and pictures are very high quality, even with movement, are clear and colorful.
– The touching, tapping, scrolling, winking, and voice commands are very simple, very easy to learn.
– Posting to social media is a cinch! (barring my mentioned complaints)
– They are very comfortable, lightweight, and stylish.
– Phone calls are very clear.
– Sending a text with voice command was easy and accurate. The voice readback was a huge plus!
– Wide range of possibilities for use.
– Case, charger, sunglasses, all very nice.
– Durable. Although I did not climb Mt. Everest with them, they seem quite durable and I didn’t once feel afraid to break them.
What did I dislike?
– They should fold, come on Google, they are glasses after all.
– Battery life is garbage. It drains so quickly!
– While the battery life is terrible, it takes a long time to charge.
– It doesn’t heat up just taking the default 10 second video, but if you take multiple in a row or a longer video, you will feel it. It doesn’t hurt, but it gets hot enough to be uncomfortable.
– Where are all the apps? Nothing as simple as a Kindle reader? I can’t watch a video from Youtube, but I can from my own device?
– Uploading any video over the default 10 seconds takes a rediculous and inconsistent amount of time.
– To scroll through your menu, you have to get through a rotation that operates in chronological order. In other words, you cannot go to “My Pics” or “My Videos”. You simply have to keep scrolling through all recent activity until you get to what you need.
– I said they have “style”, but they have *one* style to choose from. Good thing I liked it.
– Want to load contacts? Good luck.
– Did I convince the reader about the uses of social media for organizations? This one’s a real frustrating head scratcher.
It is an understatement that Google specializes in the collection of data and information. So it would be of no surprise that Google creates a device that makes you register all your social media accounts with them in order to use, or else it’s pretty useless. If they can benefit from you, they will. I don’t think this is the right approach though. If they want to make a successful device, they will fail with their current product. If though, they want to gain more information, they will win. I don’t care if they want information, I simply won’t buy a set of Glass. Unless they enable their device (Glass) to:
– Use existing social media (Facebook, Twitter) with current login username and password, not a registered email. If Glass is supposed to be an extension of your phone, and your phone is already logged in, why shouldn’t Glass just log in from your phone?
– Allow me to see other updates than my own.
– Post updates with only and all the content I choose, not the auto hashtags Google chooses. This includes all pics and text I want to use together.
– Allow a device to be easily transferable to another user via login information.
– Get rid of Google+ already, it doesn’t work.
What’s going on in the mean time? Google is using their customers as their personal and unpaid PR and research firm. Think about it. By having “explorers” pay a ridiculous amount of money for a product that is incomplete, they are gathering feedback in the meantime. Companies used to (they still do) pay millions of dollars per year in research to figure out what people wanted, what problems they could make a solution for, and create a product that agreed with their data. Google has gone a step or two further. They gather your data, follow how you are using it (as with that hashtag), and ask for constant feedback on the device. Just today I got an email asking for feedback. It said that I had to be fast, and had to reply in two days. I’m not loosing sleep, don’t worry. As if Google can’t use your data after two days. Yeah right.
It’s a one way relationship. Buyers of Glass should get company stock for this. Imagine what Google can do with just a little information. You may not know, but there is an eye-motion sensor on the Glass device, with an obvious use that remains on so long as Glass is on. Imagine that you are wearing Glass while at the grocery store. Glass can see what you are looking at, and the patterns you use to shop: top to bottom, eye level, left to right? I don’t know but you can be sure #GoogleKnows. What do you think they’re going to do with that data? They already fish your email for keywords to market to you with. Use your imagination. Information is king, knowledge is power.
In the end, the buyer of Google Glass pays $1500 for a device that they should get paid to use. You know those drug companies who pay a little money for people to test their newest pill? What’s the difference?
Americans hate three things: being ripped off, being nickel and dimed, and sharing information. Sooner or later the competition to Google Glass is going to capitalize on these complaints. If a company can offer a product that works out-of-the-box with a quick registration and can be paired with your phone or other device with it’s existing settings, they’ve got a buyer. Until then, Glass is not worth it. It really doesn’t do much right now and Samsung is sure to come out with a competing product. Save your money, go back to school, just don’t buy Glass just yet.