Part 3 Final Thoughts
Google Glass has been a pretty great experience so far, and I have generally enjoyed using it. The past few weeks I have been doing more at home and not needing to where Glass as much. I do have to say that getting directions has continued to be amazing. I use directions, sending/receiving messages, and checking notifications very often while on Glass and this all works pretty well. The software continues to update and get better. XE8 just came out and added some cool features that I think will be really big as more software and apps are developed for Glass.
For instance you can now take notes in Evernote from the main menu. That's awesome, but I really want to be able to take and view notes/lists in Keep. That would be great for shopping! I really want to be able to set reminders and appointments like I can in Google Now. The faster this gets added the better! Hangout messaging support needs to come very soon, Please Google! Those are some of the things that I would like to see added.
One of the biggest changes that I would really like to see is the way the timeline is organized. Now it's just one really long stream and finding what you are looking for is really hard at time. It would be amazing if just the first 3-5 cards were the most recent things that happened, and from there on back everything would be organized under their respective cards. For example, the all of the pictures would be under a picture card, all email under email and so forth.
For further organization you could set which cards show up first or as you use Glass, the cards that you use most pop up first automatically. I really think this would make Glass far more useable. As more apps get added to Glass organization will really become important.
One other issue that I would like to see improved would be the ability to manage what comes to Glass and what doesn't. Right now I almost never get any notifications about Google+ on Glass, yet that is one of the things that I really try to keep up with. I have already taken the time to curate which notifications I would like to receive yet they don't come through to Glass. Maybe it could even be something where the default setting for apps is not to send notifications, but the user has to select which ones to send to Glass when setting up the app. The Gmail notifications seem to work pretty well, and I can manage which ones come to glass by changing the folder they are in. I need that level of control on other apps too.
The other reason for better organization and control over notifications is because some apps send me too much stuff. I like having news from CNN and NY Times, but often I get too many cards from them. If it's breaking news, let me know. If it's just news, send me a card of the top stories at the end of the day or let me chose what I want to see. Glass users really need this control.
On a hardware note, pictures and videos continue to be very good overall, but sometimes it's tough to take pictures of things like this really tasty macaroon that I had while at Google for the Google Teacher Academy. It was really hard to take that pictures because of the lens type, but overall the hardware has been pretty good.
Glass needs some noise canceling mics. There have been many times when people struggle to hear me or Glass can't understand me while in the car or when ambient noise was a little loud, but not too loud. There have been times when Glass has understood me when it shouldn't have too so this can be spotty, but noise cancellation with another mic or two would be great!
Lastly, I have had some issues with Hangouts or video calls. By the way Glass team, please go back to Hangout with for the voice command, It's easier to say. I have had times where the video works great, but the audio doesn't work at all. I can hear the other person, but they can't hear me. I think this may have been an issue with ambient noise, but I'm not sure. I was trying to demo Glass Hangouts during a recent education conference, and it just wouldn't work. Hopefully, it gets fixed. Also, I need to get Hangouts messages on Glass, that would be HUGE!
With that out of the way, I would like to talk a little about Glass reactions. Overall, I believe that people are very interested in Glass. It certainly has started many great conversations, and people seem to get comfortable with me wearing it fairly quickly. I try to always make time for people who want to ask questions, so if you see me, stop me! I have also let everyone who has asked, and several who have not, try it on. That generally seems to be the easiest way to explain Glass to others.
As for reactions themselves I have had a couple of great ones. The day before my sister got married, I went to pick up my tux with my Dad, and Misty. The tux place was inside the mall, and this was really the first time I had been in the Green Bay mall since I had gotten Glass. As I was walking passed the one of the middle of the store technology retailers, one of the guys nearly dropped his phone, and screamed, "Hey that guy has Google Glass!" I waved and walked on that time as I was in a hurry to get back to my Dad who doesn't really like malls.
The best reaction came when I was in Chicago for the Google Teacher Academy. We had decided to get together at the Haymarket Pub. I had just navigated a group of us there on foot using Glass. (We might have run into a few issues with GPS signal because my phone thought we were in the middle of the river instead of on the sidewalk, but we made it. ) As I was mingling with the other future GTAs, I noticed a young women on the other side of the wall sneaking looks at me. Luckily, I knew it wasn't because of my hunky body, and wavy (balding) hair. It wasn't too long after that and she came over to ask about Glass.
Possibly, it was because she had been having a few after work cocktails, but this young lady was very excited about Glass. She asked lots of questions, and let her try Glass on. She spent several minutes playing around the menus and enjoying the experience. I was very glad to have made her day. What is odd is that I have never really experienced that rock star like status that comes with Glass. It's really cool most of the time. At least, it's cool when people actually approach you and ask about Glass even if they don't know what it is.
This brings me to the negative issues with wearing Glass. I have actually only had one time where I have heard negative comments, and that was in a mall in San Francisco just after getting Glass. A man said I looked ridiculous and that it was a security risk. However, he didn't say it directly to me so I ignored him. Most actual interactions with people have been great, the weirdness is more with the people who just stare at you. I have even been concerned a couple of times that someone was going to walk into something or someone while staring at me! It is during these times, that I just wish people would ask about what Glass is so I could explain it to them. This issue seems particularly bad here in Northeastern Wisconsin. People are generally more polite in the sense that they don't generally walk up to strangers and ask questions. This actually makes wearing Glass not so much fun at times. I'm getting pretty used to it though and I can always take them off.
When people do talk with me about Glass the top questions are usually:
- Are You Recording me?
- Response: No my battery would run out pretty fast if I recorded everything.
- What's it like?
- I'm often confused by this one because I'm not sure if they want to know how I like it or what the experience is like using Glass
- Response to Question 1: I like it alot, it gets technology out of the way allowing me to do other things and experience the world more while have instant access to just about whatever I need. It also allows me to capture many more of the moments I typically missed capturing in the past.
- Response to Question 2 It works well, and then I generally try to explain what I see. This is usually when it's best of the person to try Glass on.
- Is Glass distracting?
- Response: Not for me. It's default setting is off. It turns on only when I need to see something or when an important event is happening. It's much more distracting to others as it looks different. It works amazing in the car!
- How much does it cost?
- Response: $1500 or the cost of a nice laptop computer.
- How did you get it?
- Response: I was selected as part of a contest from the Glass team, I had to pay for it, and go to San Francisco to get it.
- Do you work for Google?
- Response: No, but if they offered me a job, I would be there in a heartbeat.
After answering questions, many people want to try them on and I have no issues with that. However, I am often helping people navigate through Glass from the front end. People usually get the hang of it eventually, but I sure have gotten a lot of pictures of my self! Also, I have noticed that most people miss their nose to the left side of their face trying to get the screen right in front of their eye so I usually help guide it on their head. If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comments section under the post on G+, and I would be happy to answer them.
Glass in Education
One of the reasons that I was interested in Glass has to do with it's possible uses in Education. I'm a special education teacher, and as of late there have been a ton of examples of Glass helping people with disabilities. If you just look at the Google Glass Google+ community you can read about them there. Truly amazing things will come of Glass for people with disabilities.
One of the ideas that I have had along those lines is for autistic students especially those with Asperger's. These students have huge issues with reading other people and their body language. It would be amazing if Glass could read a persons expressions and body language to tell students how to respond. For example, if someone were not really looking at them, it might suggest they were busy and to come back later. Glass could tell them if someone was upset, happy, or maybe annoyed. All this would be gold to someone with Asperger's. It might not be able to tell them why someone was feeling a certain way, but it would be helpful.
Of course voice actions, pictures, videos, and directions would all be great for special education students. I am also interested in how Glass could help any student. What if a student wanted to take an auto mechanics class, but a school didn't offer it and the student couldn't take is somewhere nearby? Could they use Glass to interact with an instructor somewhere via Hangouts where the instructor could see what the student sees and help walk the student through how to fix something? This could be used for many other subjects as well where hands-on is really important.
Students could use Glass for many projects as well including things like interviews and first person perspectives. What about virtual field trips using something like Augment? Students could walk around a life size replica of the Louvre or or the Coliseum. They could record lessons, take pictures of notes or a plethora of things I can't think of yet. Glass clearly has some cool possibilities for student use.
I teach an employment skills class and we doing a whole quarter on interview skills, along with actual interviews. I haven't recorded them in the past because my students are often nervous enough without a camera in the room. Glass will give me the opportunity to record them as they will be very used to me wearing them by then. Further, I think it would be cool to work with some local businesses to do some mock interviews with me going through the process, and then have my students grade how well I do. I can show them some of the classic mistakes that people are making today during interviews. Further, I could maybe do what Mike Rowe did on Dirty Jobs and work at local business for a certain amount of time showing my students what it's like to work at different jobs.
Another use would be a choose your own adventure type activity using video. A chemistry teacher could record him/herself doing an experiment that would normally be possible and students could pick which ingredients are added to see what happens. They could write down their hypothesis about what they think is going to happen, and then their reactions to what actually happens. I think this type of activity could be very awesome.
My hope is that Glass will allow me to stay up to date with emails and other things while spending much more time interacting with students. In other words, I want to get away from my computer more. I want to take more pictures and videos of what my students are working on and accomplishing. I can take pictures of their work as proof of what they did, have access to information and Google searches while interacting, and allow students to ask questions without having to call attention to themselves. I recently created a Google Form and used the AutoCrat script to allow people in my training sessions to send me questions straight to Glass through Gmail. It worked pretty well and I plan to use that in my classes as well. I can answer them without anyone knowing who asked the question, and if I can't answer it right then, I can email them back later. As Glass evolves there will be so many amazing ways to integrate it into education. Just imagine the possibilities for coaching too!
It's an amazing time to be an educator!