Yes, we’ve got one. For about half a year, we can call one of these extraordinary gadgets our own, and we knew we had to try it out considering that we were following the first developments in this area of mobile imaging like on the iPhone since 2008.
So here is how you get started. The setting of the Google Glass is rather unusual as there is no keyboard. Once connected to your Google account on our laptop, you can select a local wireless connection and password on the Google website and receive a QR Code. As soon as Google Glass scans the Code you will be connected with the selected network. Problematic here is that not all WLAN protocols are supported which is why we faced several issues connecting to a network. Once a connection is active, Google Glass is using its GPS to gather information about the location. Those information do not only include weather and time but also the nearest restaurants or petrol stations.
Now Google Glass is ready for use. In June we used Google Glass to document our booth on the CebIT Australia 2013 and we were repeatedly asked if the gadget could be tried out for a minute, of course along taking a picture with the Google Glass. It proved itself useful while walking around the fair. We used Google Glass to take pictures, to record short videos and to scan QR Codes on various posters on the exhibition area. So it become useful in this case and off-cource, we got visitors on our booth only regarding the Google Glass.
Once you use the Google Glass the screen is only activated for a few seconds so that your visibility is hardly limited. With touching the frame or tilting your head 15 degrees upwards or downwards you can reactive the screen. Is the screen activated, speech recognition reacts to commands such as “O.k. Glass, take a picture” or “O.k. Glass, record a video” which works surprisingly well and even for people with an accent. Trickier are commands like “O.k. Glass, send a message to..” and you need a little practice that at the end Google Glass really finds “the nearest Chinese restaurant” or “1170 Howell Mill Rd, Atlanta, GA”. Further, you can send video chats or E-Mails via a connection to Google. Needless to say that you can also start your own search in Google.
The Google Glass Frame works as a touchpad where you can wipe front and backwards (next element, last element), wipe downwards (to the main menu) or tape once or twice to give a command. These functions work very well and make the handling of Google Glass quite easy.
After using the Google Glass for a couple of hours you should keep a charger handy. It is not yet possible to hook the Glass to iOS devices, therefore apple users have to use a laptop for the necessary configuration. Android user can simply use their smartphone to connect Google Glass to the internet and are not in a need of an extra WLAN.
How it works practically ?
The Google Glass works pretty well and is a lot of fun to use – and a lot of fun is made with it. Of course the Google Glass catch quite a few glances on the street. Plenty has been said about the Google Glass in the media. Mostly, authors focus on the usage of the glass in daily life which raises several and diverse questions about matters like privacy or data protection.
More than half a year prior to the expected release date, Ukraine and the Russian Federation have prohibited purchase and usage of the glass due to the possibility of spy activities performed with the glass. Also, the famous Casino Caesars Palace in Las Vegas already prohibited the usage in their house because computers or recording devices are not to be used in Casinos in Nevada. As well the first Cafe in Seattle do not allow Google Glass anymore. Finally, their is no confirmation about a Seattle based owner of a Google Glass anyway.
The most important question regarding these concerns is, if the consumer market is really the main field of application for the Google Glass? The demand – even if developers come up with new applications and wider possibilities for the device – outside of the gaming area will be limited.
The total opposite goes for the business environment, though. Many situations here require the access to information without focusing your attention on a whole other screen or for which you need both of your hands.
After several weeks of intensive testing we could identify potential interesting fields of application and have been granted a funding through the Federal State of Lower Saxony within the EFRE programs. This support enables ECCE TERRAM to push forward the development of applications in B2B and B2C. Our target here is to focus especially on the imaging, printing, advertisement and logistic industries.
The project comprises the development of specialized applications for the Google Glass and Android Smartphones as well as the development of a web portal where small and medium sized providers can sign up and create Augmented Reality information. Details about this project will presumably be presented within an intended beta phase in the early summer of 2014.