Monday, July 8, 2013

SEND. VIEW.

To send and to view are most remarkable four letter words.

It surprises me that I've been wearing Google Glass now for just two months. And it has been just barely over a year that I cast my lot and joined the Glass Explorer program. The device seems natural to me - like I've had it all my life, but it is still as exciting and thrilling to use and demonstrate as it was when I first put it on.

It took me a while to realize why this device resonated so well with me... it was almost a perfect embodiment of many things that I had been talking and writing and researching for... decades. It is a network device at heart, but serves a very personal role. It serves dual missions of helping a person capture the most important events in their lives (while making sure a person can experience and live those events), but also makes sure they can be notified of the events in the world around them they care about.

The first role is one that almost everyone talks about, and it is no secret that Glass is most visible in how it lets people take pictures and video. Every #throughglass tag shouts that. And while it takes good photos, there is a lot of work still necessary here - most notably, people need to learn how to frame and edit those photos to create great photos. Sharing a photo straight from Glass is cool - but the most awesome pictures will come from taking the next step.

Not nearly as many people talk about the other angle for Glass - receiving messages. And yet, this is the one that has changed me more than photo sharing. I have long been used to being able to receive messages while I work, and being able to reply or ignore them quickly, with minimal interruption. Glass takes that to another level, allowing me to do the same thing when I'm away from my desk. Sure, I could pull out my cell phone - but Glass is faster, easier, and lets me get back to what I'm doing with almost no distraction. It has kept me more in touch with people when I am out than I ever have been before, and sometimes that has been terribly important for me.

Glass isn't perfect. The price was steep, and sometimes I think I should have waited for the (hopefully less expensive) consumer edition. Mine seems to have developed a flaw in part of the glass brick, and I'll be replacing it. There are bugs in the software, and features I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing, and the engineers who are working on it are as human as I am... I think.

But Glass is pretty darn awesome, as I tell everyone who asks. And I am glad for those engineers who are busy working to make it more awesome, not to mention the other Explorers who are helping to define the shape of this product. I may disagree with some, and I may be vocal about that disagreement sometimes, but I know we're all treading on fairly new ground. We're not just developing new software, for a totally new product, we're also exploring new ways to use it, new social conventions it must work in, and even new ways to think about it.

The five-year-old won't let me go out of the house without it. He understands it. Like the generation that has grown up with cell phones getting smarter and smarter, he will be growing up with a device that whispers in my head and gives me a glimpse of something important - but no more. And he will see the pictures and videos of him that I've taken as we vacation together. And he will know, better than most, that although I'm wearing this on my face - it means I'll be seeing more of him. I'm just two months into this journey... what an awesome trip it will be.

And speaking of vacations and trips... here is just a little glimpse at how Glass served me while on a recent vacation to Florida. (I think it looks pretty good if you watch it in the larger player on YouTube at 720p.)