Last week, Steve Albright (our Android developer), went to New York City to pick up his Google Glass. But after getting them, how did he like them? How did he use them? This article explores Steve’s first 48 hours with Google Glass.
If you’ve been following the Glass Saga, you’re probably well aware of Steve’s first 24 hours with Glass. It started off with our Glass fitting at Google’s NYC headquarters, followed by an LG party for the Optimus G Pro where Atlas Genius played, culminating in a late night Times Square caricature.
Over that 24 hours, Steve noted several things:
- The Glass frame felt really light in comparison to his normal glasses.
- Was surprised that during normal use it doesn’t get in the way, conflict with your vision, or otherwise impair your normal vision or activities.
- People that already wear glasses know there is a slight piece of the frame within your sight range. Glass has this also, but not any more than regular glasses, so Glass should be no more difficult to “get used to” than a normal set of glasses.
- As an early adopter of the iPhone, he noted similarities between when people initially stopped to talk about his iPhone and when people stopped him to discuss Glass (lots of people stopped).
- Making phone calls seemed almost unusable- it was hard to hear the other person and on the other end, the audio quality was equally as bad, even when both parties were in a quiet environment.
- Taking pictures and video on-the-fly and hands-free was very convenient, without having to pull your phone out and get into the camera app. As a parent, allowed him to capture moments he wouldn’t otherwise have been able to.
- Overall experience is very pleasurable but lots of bugs need to be worked out, and he anticipates lots of improvements in the future.
Google Glass in Central Park
With first impressions behind him, he woke up in New York City with sight seeing in mind, starting with a visit to Central Park. We walked around a bit, listened to music, and enjoyed the beautiful nature scenery with the world’s biggest city as a backdrop.
A new bride and live saxophone player are things you wouldn’t normally see in a typical park, but in New York City these sightings are a dime a dozen. Just another day in the big city!
It’s pretty fascinating that such a large park could be situated smack dab in the center of one of the world’s largest cities.
Google Glass at the Apple Store
Only a hop, skip, and a jump from Central Park is the Apple Store. We thought it’d be fun to take a stroll through and see if anyone got excited by seeing someone wearing glass around town.
Of all the people that walked up to chat with Steve – probably a total of 5 or 6 – almost all of them were Apple employees. It’s not surprising that Apple employees would be likely to initiate conversation about Glass, given the fact that they’re probably tech fans in general, but we thought more people would spot them and approach us.
Throughout our time in New York City they did draw a lot of attention, but for every person that stopped us to talk about them, there were a good 50 or 60 that would acknowledge them from afar. And almost everyone who did initiate conversation already knew they were Google Glass.
Google Glass at 30 Rock
Rockefeller Center actually spans several acres and buildings, including Radio City Music Hall, but perhaps the most famous of those buildings is called “30 Rock”. Yes, the hit comedy show gets its name from this very building. It’s owned by General Electric, serves as the headquarters for NBC, and many famous shows have been or currently are filmed there including Late Night with David Letterman, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and NBC News.
At the foot of 30 Rock is a beautiful Plaza that features a restaurant and bar. In the winter, they convert this area into an ice rink. Steve and I used this Lower Plaza as a meeting place to catch up with my cousin Jennifer (above left) and my friend Laura (above right) and of course couldn’t pass up the opportunity for some delicious, cold drinks on a warm day. Afterwards, we made our way to the “Top of the Rock”.
The Top of the Rock is the rooftop of 30 Rock and features spectacular, sweeping views of the city. While the Empire State Building is considered a much more prominent landmark, the wait to visit is proportionally longer. And in my opinion, the top of the Rock has much better views: You can see Central Park much better and you actually get to see the Empire State building (instead of being in it).
In the first of those photos, you can get a great idea of how humongous Central Park really is. This visit was outrageously fun and the videos and pictures from Glass turned out great. But with that view, it would be hard to take a bad picture.
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge
After our most picturesque view of the day, we hopped on the Subway into Brooklyn to walk across the Brooklyn bridge. No, we weren’t on a mission for P Diddy to buy him some muffins, we’ve just heard that walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is something everyone should do. It was quite spectacular.
The walk came with some amazing views, but unfortunately, there was also a fair amount of construction that obstructed views over much of the bridge’s 1 mile distance. Nevertheless it was definitely worth the walk and one Steve would recommend.
After an awesome couple days in New York City, it was back to reality in York, PA. For Steve, reality at home is crazier and more loud than NYC: Steve and his wife have one 2-year old and recently had triplets. I guess I shouldn’t leave out two dogs and one cat, either.
With 4 kids, Google Glass might be just the thing Steve needs. Even with one baby in each arm, Steve will be able to get some decent tech geekery in with Glass on his face!
You can add Steve on Google+ to follow his future Google Glass antics and stay tuned for our complete Google Glass review which we’ll be posting in the near future!
Why was the call quality bad? How was listening to music? Is it the bone induction(whatever it’s called) type microphone/speaker or what?
You can’t listen to music on Glass. Not yet, anyway (there’s no music player app).
This was my first impression of the first call I tried. I will do some more testing in different areas and environments to see how it truly works. You can disable the bluetooth audio so if its really bad maybe I will add a bluetooth headset to my head too. How many head gadgets are too many? lol.
Does it support Google Music?
It does not. Music would actually sound horrible on it given there’s no 3.5mm jack and the speaker is actually a bone conducting speaker that vibrates your skull. It’s pretty crazy.
So how clear is the audio transducer?
sounds like it really needs a 3.5mm adapter that wraps around your ears and plugs directly into your ear
better “plugs directly in your head” =)
I lived in York, Pa for a while….don’t really miss it though.
It’s a nice area and I can’t complain… more relaxed then a city for sure but yeah.. nothing crazy special. It’s evolving to a more diverse community but has a long way to go.
As a fellow parent, taking pics and videos with it is definitely the coolest feature and reason I’d like to give it a try. For all other features, I might as well use my phone.
Glass is different from using your phone in that you never have to disengage from a conversation. Your nose isn’t always buried in your phone, you’re head is up, enjoying life and multitasking. Definitely not for everyone, but quite neat. :)
True, but only for people who have their noses buried in the phone. For one that is trying to not have that, Glass would make it worse. But again, I’d love to try it for casual photography.
That is some nice clear video.
So its essentially a head mounted camera then….
Is a smartphone only a camera? It’s a main features nowadays, sure. But that’s not all it can do. :)
So what else CAN it do??? Please! Inquiring minds want to know!
Keep this in mind: it’s based on Android. Lots of developers have their hands on it and are already developing for it. What it can do NOW is somewhat irrelevant… I’m more curious about what it can do in a year from now when it hits the market.
We’ll be posting our full review soon and include some of that speculation so stay tuned!
i just hope from a year from now they can improve the battery life and audio issues when it comes to the consumer. software wise, i’m not really worried, our community will do great stuff.
Yes, it’s Android, so is my phone. What does it do that my phone can’t?
Right, I know. I’m just saying that part of its functionality is ruined since it doesn’t do very well with audio. Its basically just a screen and a camera.
Wow! Two killer apps there that make this a must-have! It makes phone calls AND takes pictures! Woo hoo!!
Nav is neat too!
So where’s the mention of how the nav works in-between all that poncing around Manhattan?? It takes photos. Great. So does my phone and I don’t have to wear that on my head when I’ve finished taking the shot! How long does the juice last when you’re navigating?? Would you use it while driving?
gmail and nytimes are official too
How do you type on it? Is it purely voice?
The picture and sound quality are amazing considering it’s small size.
Damn – I was just there two weeks ago and the gold statue in front of 30 Rock was all covered up. My kids were bummed out.
Interesting, but a pity that making phone calls was unstable–that’s one of its main features, right? Hands-free calling, completely replacing bluetooth headsets and such? (uh-oh those working in the bluetooth industry) Have you guys seen the hilarious SNL sketch of glass yet? http://bit.ly/10CVvYC
I will test it more.. keep in mind this was my first reaction… It could have been a wide variety of variables that effected that call. Once I get more official testing done we will post that for everyone to see the pros and cons.
Funny SNL clip. You do actually activate it (turn on the screen) by looking to a certain degree.. default is 30 degrees up. I found that it turns on sometimes when you don’t want it and sometimes it takes a few tries to turn it on. This could all just be me not being consistent but just something I noticed.
Completely replacing bluetooth headsets??? That’s all it is!
Video stability would be nice while you’re walking.
Google Glass is looking like an epic fail!
I realize this is new tech, but come on this is just the same thing we have seen over and over again, not many tricks to this pony.
A few writers enthusiastic articles does not mean it is really an exciting product.
So, honestly – outside of this being a version of a camera/camcorder – do you see any real uses for it that are not already handled by current technology?
The most surprising thing about glass, IMO, is how shaky the video footage is. I would’ve assumed it’d be much more stable considering our head movement seems much smoother than holding a light camphone in our hands. *shrug* Just something for youtube’s stabilization algorithm to fix in post for those it bothers
I was actually expecting it to be much worse, especially while the user is walking/biking/running. I would expect future iterations will have image stabilization, especially when other CE companies start producing their own versions (Sony, Sammy, etc.).