Last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to pick up my own pair of Google Glass at Google’s Los Angeles office in Venice Beach, CA. Since then, I haven’t been able to take them off, hitting the beach directly after my fitting and celebrating Cinco De Mayo the day after. For those of you curious about my experience with Glass during the first 48 hours, I invite you to take a peek into my life.
Google Los Angeles
It was a bit tough to sleep the night before picking up my Google Glass. I had all these hopes and expectations on what Glass would be like. Augmented reality, first person shooters — okay, maybe I was letting my imagination get the best of me. I decided, for the sake of my sanity, to keep my expectations low. This is beta hardware we’re talking about here. That way I wouldn’t find myself disappointed, while allowing enough room for surprise.
Driving to Google’s Los Angeles offices, I wasn’t sure what to expect when arrived. I soon learned that this is the place where Google’s North American advertising team is centered. A fitting location for a Google Glass introduction.
I was greeted at the door by angelic Google employees all wearing Glass, one of which would be my personal Google Glass guide. Everyone was super warm and welcoming, giving my friends and I a quick tour before we had to go upstairs to their Glass fitting room. The Google building was filled with the usual assortment of foosball and pool tables. Google has long been known for being one of the “funnest” places to work, and their LA offices lived up to that. I peeked around corners hoping to catch a glimpse of the Nexus 5, but to no avail.
Walking out into the foyer, there was a large white screen and projector for movie time, hanging lounge chairs and tether ball poles, even a full cafeteria. I briefly tried imagining what it would be like to work (live?) in a magical place such as Google, a place filled with beautiful people and brilliant minds.
Arriving at the Glass fitting room, we found drinks, cupcakes… and Glass. All the colors were laid out in front of me and I was allowed to pick my favorite
Pokemon color. Sitting down with my Glass guide, a few beers and good friends, I wondered how I ended up here. My Glass guide gave me a quick run through, and after playing around with the Chromebook Pixel they were using (seriously, it was amazing) we had a few more drinks and it was time to take Glass out on the town.
While we were being escorted out, I decided to let my buddy Mike take Glass for a quick spin down Google’s multi-level parking lot. Here’s the resulting video from that.
Upon leaving the Google LA office, the battery on my Glass was almost depleted. Like a dummy, I left navigation running for the first 2 hours which made Glass extremely warm and quickly dropped the battery to 20%. Since it’s possible to charge Glass while you’re using it, I figured I’d just hook it up to my external battery charger sitting in my back pocket.
The quick walk from our parking spot to the beach, I began feeling self conscious. This was my first time wearing Glass out in public and the fact that I looked like some kind of cyborg secret service agent, made me feel uncomfortable and conspicuous. I quickly untethered my headset and continued on my way.
As a Southern California resident, I’ve been to Venice Beach plenty of times in the past. A popular spot for vagrants and misfits, I didn’t think my experience with Glass would be any different from previous visits — boy was I wrong.
No, I wasn’t bum rushed by hundreds of people wanting a closer look at Glass. I didn’t really garner awkward stares, and nobody was standing around pointing, “Hey, look at that Glasshole!” To my surprise, I found that among all the ruckus and mayhem, I was able to blend in rather easily.
My issue? Paranoia that someone behind me wearing hot pants and roller skates would come from behind and swipe my Glass from off my face. Yes, that was the only thing going through my head the entire time I was out.
Glass didn’t make me feel self conscious. Glass gave me fear. Besides that — there were babes. Lot’s and lots of hot babes. Glass makes it entirely too easy to capture “creeper shots” of unsuspecting women. Within seconds of noticing them I was able to capture these lovely young ladies, you know… for science.
I think the fact that I was able to blend in so well had a lot to do with my color choice. This was intentional, mind you. A move I made to remain inconspicuous while about my daily life. I chose “Shale” – which is more of a taupe – because it didn’t stand out, blended in well with my hair color, and matched my normal attire. Red, blue and white were enticing, but simply not an option for someone who hate’s attention.
During my time in Venice, I was only approached a few times by nice people with huge smiles asking if what I had on my head were those “Google Glasses.” The conversation always ended with how I like them, to which I’d reply, “They’re super cool. I love them.” From the sound of it, it appeared as if everyone thought they were pretty cool, not weird, creepy, or mega-nerdy (of course, there’s always the chance they were being polite).
After my friends and I had enough with Venice (turns out they were just as worried as me, acting as my personal Glass body guards), we decided to grab some lunch. We found a nice BYOB Mexican restaurant, bringing in our ice chest chock full of ice cold brewskies, and talked more about Glass. My friends – Android fans I’ve met through Twitter – were able to try it out and were more or less impressed. Having instant access to the wealth of knowledge of internet directly in front of your face at all times was enough to arouse anyone’s interest.
My buddy Mike apparently had plenty of interests to arouse. He strapped on Glass and the first thing he did was quickly search for his favorite “actresses” via Google image search. Yes, it was a success. After clearing my search history and wiping Glass down, we discovered that even while I was wearing Glass, it was possible for someone in the room to yell, “Ok Glass, Google images of (insert the most lewd phrase or image you can think of here),” pulling up images of said phrase. Good times.
After lunch I paid for my check, and answered some quick questions about Glass from the restaurant clerk. We walked around for a bit more before finally heading home. Day 1 with Glass had come to an end.
The church I attend in Corona, CA was having a good old fashioned outdoor Cinco De Mayo service filled with food, music, and fellowship. I wondered if I’d feel more uncomfortable wearing Glass in this situation, a place where being showy and/or attracting attention to one self is generally frowned upon. Given this was an outdoor event and the music was barely kicking off, I kept Glass on for the time being and shot a quick video.
Once preaching started, I didn’t want to be a distraction and removed Glass out of respect. This marked the first time I had removed Glass for social reasons since I received it. After the service was over, I quickly strapped Glass back on my face like a crack addict. Given that this was a church environment where everyone is friendly and familiar with one another, it was different from walking around with complete strangers. I was approached many more times than when I was at the beach.
Once again, everyone was intrigued, full of smiles, wanting to know more about Glass and how it worked. My mother seems to think Glass could have been what was foretold in the book of Revelations (sign of the Beast). At this point I began to notice how much everyone overestimates what Glass can do. Whether it’s x-ray vision or ushering in the apocalypse, no one seems realize that Glass is simply a smartphone companion, not a standalone device.
Cinco De Mayo Party
After church I traveled back to LA with my girlfriend for a Cinco De Mayo party she was invited to. As soon as I stepped foot through the door, I was quickly approached by party goers with waning inhibitions about my Google Glasses. The most frequent question being, “Am I being recorded right now?” or even if I was able to watch YouTube on my Glass. Tragically, not yet, I replied.
When I first arrived, I will say I noticed some initial discomfort amongst the guests. Even though I wasn’t recording video, everyone was acting much the way they would if they were on camera. Over time (and after a lot more alcohol) they warmed up to Glass and by the end of the night, I could have very well had a banana strapped to my head and they wouldn’t have cared or noticed. A very interesting social experiment, for sure. After a lot of interesting conversation, and daylight drawing near, we decided to make the track back home and day 2 with Glass had officially drawn to a close.
And that just about wraps up my first 48 hours with Google Glass. I hope my boring life was somehow insightful. Everyday I’m getting more adjusted to Glass and I’m noticing that my family and friends around me are doing so as well. As it turns out, what you think would make you look silly or nerdy really has more to do with how you feel about yourself. If you rock at life, you’ll rock with Glass. I have no idea what that even means, but keep in mind once Glass is finally available to the public. It might help you pull the trigger.