The not-all-about-business blog

Yesterday, Google announced that its augmented reality device, Google Glass, is now openly available to the public. The price is still the same: $1500 plus tax, with supposedly no difference between the version now available and the Explorer edition in limited beta. So now that it’s really and truly open to the public, is Glass worth the price tag? Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series on chronicling my experiences and describing what I think the value of Glass is.

As the Chief Marketing Officer of CopyShoppy, part of my job is to get out there and promote our business as much possible, as well as stay plugged into the NYC business community. The best part about doing this is that I keep finding ways to make CopyShoppy better for our customers and writers. It also means that I get to do some pretty cool stuff in NYC’s Silicon Alley, and it was through one of these channels that I became a Google Glass Explorer.

Sarah snapping pictures in NYC using the “wink” hands-free photo capture feature on Glass. Colors augmented through “Glassagram” photo filters tool.

I’ve had Glass for about two months now, and since then I’ve heard every negative thing you can think of about it: from the design being clunky and obvious to the functionality being limited. Mostly, all this comes from my tech friends and the broader tech community that I follow.

Contrast this with what I hear on the streets of New York every time I wear it. People stop to take pictures with me, they tell me how lucky I am, and they want to know everything about my experience with it. The more I wear it, the more I feel like it really captures people’s imaginations: they see the future when they see Glass. When I’m in the mood, I really love to stop to talk to people about what I think of Glass, which often results in me meeting some interesting people in New York. When I’m trying to use Glass as a day-to-day tool, the experience is less attractive: being stared at while you are trying to dictate work-related emails through speech is incredibly awkward and uncomfortable.

To be honest, I really like using Glass, and would use it a lot more if it was less obvious. Is it like wearing a smartphone on your face? Yes. Is it more durable than a smartphone? Yes. Does it eliminate the use of a smartphone altogether? Not yet, and the biggest reason is that it just doesn’t have enough apps. I do everything on an app nowadays, from ordering products on Etsy, to paying my phone bill. That being said, the official apps Glass does have are pretty solid.

The best part of using Glass is the integration with Google products and services I already enjoy: Gmail, Calendar, Google%2B, and Google Now. Let’s start with a simple Gmail example. Glass knows what emails I want to see and shows me only emails from users that I interact with on Gmail. This means no junk mail, no mailing lists, no e-bills…just human interaction. Forget the "helpful" tabs in my full version Gmail inbox, I want to only see this view all the time!

A few weeks ago I googled tickets for the Brooklyn Nets – Toronto Raptors playoff games on my laptop at work (and got some decent seats too!). Fast forward to two days later, when I was finishing some work up with Glass perched on my nose at home. Glass proactively decided that I would want to know the day’s game was about to start, as well as the score. While I continued to concentrate on work, the score continuously changed in the corner of my eye. When I wanted to pause and see a video highlight or a stat, I only needed to click on the score to check it out.

Sarah keeping track of the NBA playoffs while working on a Sunday.

The next day I was at the airport running to catch a flight. Since my ticket and flight details were in my Gmail inbox, Glass started to display the flight timing and delays in my vision when it realized I was at the airport. Seeing a half hour delay in my flight pop up, I slowed down and actually let another harried passenger cut me in the security line (my good Samaritan deed of the day!). Later that evening, I looked up a restaurant on my phone, and Glass started to display step-by-step visual directions the second I stepped off the subway.

All this can happen on my smartphone too, but it’s so much better when it’s displayed before I know I need it on a device which does not require my interaction to display. I love when my gadgets make my life easier, and this form of delivery due to the seamless integration of Google services across devices does exactly that.

Glass also integrates with non-Google apps well, from Refresh to Youtube. But let’s save that post for another day, along with my experiences working out using Glass and my misadventures with side-loading Glass apps. Stay tuned for part II, coming soon to the CopyShoppy blog!

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Sarah Khan

About the author
Sarah Khan is a corporate strategist & CMO at CopyShoppy. She has played prominent strategy and innovation roles at a number of large corporations, such as PepsiCo Inc. and Discovery Communications.

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