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Google Glass One Year On and What's Next


I consider myself a very fortunate person.  I have a super fantastic wife, an awesome family, a rewarding job at a school I love to go to everyday and I could go on.  I was also very fortunate to be able to test Google Glass for the past year and a few months. It has been a great experience overall, and one that I would not trade away easily.



That being said, as time has gone on, I have worn Glass less and less.  It really comes down to a few things.  The first is that as time has gone on, Glass has been updated less often, and therefore things really haven't changed too much in the past 6 months or so.  There have been some great updates, like glancing up to see a notification rather than tipping your head back.  The hardware has improved some as well.  I really love the new nose pieces as they have made Glass easier to wear for me.

However, when I first purchased Glass, monthly updates were the norm and each month their was a
fresh reason to try new stuff with Glass.  I'm not a developer,  I'm a teacher and more of a consumer when it comes to Glass.  So Glass needs to provide some really important benefits in order for me to wear it daily.  One of those benefits was the frequent updates, and that has gone away.

Beyond the lack of updates, Glass still has issues with fit for me. While it's comfortable to wear for a few hours, it tends to start moving on my nose and then it can become difficult to read the screen. Further, the speaker is still very quiet and difficult to make calls with. The earbud that now ships with Glass is ok, but doesn't' really stay in my ear very well and there are no adjustments that can be made to make it stay better.  Therefore, I turn off the phone functionality of Glass because of the lack of noise cancelling mics make it hard of others to  hear me or it's tough for me to hear them.

I was hoping that the feel and look of Glass was going to change over time, but it really has not. People still stare and ask lots of questions about the thing I am wearing on my head.  This has started lots of great conversations, but when people ask me how I like it, I'm more lukewarm than I used to be.  It's really hard to walk around with everyone staring at you all of the time.

While Glass has lots of issues, the funny part is that Glass could overcome all of that if the notification system was better.  This is the most frustrating part of Glass.  It's a device that is supposed to keep me more connected to the real world while keeping me up to date in my digital one. This just doesn't happen. Because Glass can only handle one account at a time I only get information from half of my life so I have to keep consulting my other devices to stay up to date on information I often need.  If Glass could solve that issue, it might well be worth wearing more often.

This leads me to what's next,  I have had the opportunity to try the LG G Watch for about a week, and in terms of notifications and information, Android Wear, the platform the G Watch is built on is really pretty great.  While I was not thrilled with the hardware of the G Watch, I loved Android Wear.  I loved being able to switch songs, get directions, do Google Searches, see how many steps I had, and be reminded of important events with Google Now with just a glance or quick voice action.  Android Wear is supposedly coming to Glass and that is a great thing.  Wear allows me to choose which notifications go to my device, from multiple accounts, something I have little to no control over on Glass.

Often I don't get the notifications I want most on Glass.  Things like my Google+ notifications.  I received those on the G Watch along with Hangouts messages from all my accounts, texts, emails, Twitter notifications and whatever else I chose to keep enabled.

Wear is not perfect, but it is in it's infancy, and I'm very excited to see where it goes.
 
I can't wait to get my hands on the Moto 360 Android Wear Watch, and I'm very intrigued in the Moto Hint, a tiny bluetooth headset that has some awesome potential.  Watch the movie movie Her to see what I mean.

If Glass can gain Android Wear support, and make the hardware more integrated it still has a massive advantage over other wearables. A watch will always receive less odd looks, but the killer functionality of Glass is the ability to take pictures and videos from the wearer's point of view. That is something a Smartwatch just cannot do in the same way.  Glass wins out when I want to take lots of pictures. Times like a vacation, or a day at the amusement park are what Glass was made for.

Ultimately, if the price can come way down, the interface can be improved, and Glass can look more mainstream, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. As it stands now, if you have an $1500 and you are a software developer, I would say go for it.  If not, I would say wait. I do hope that Google will continue with this project or pass the platform on to other hardware manufacturers because it is still really cool and I'm very happy to be able to use it when the situation calls for it.

Only time will tell.

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