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Initial Thoughts on Google Glass

You might be wondering why a company that specializes in rugged mobile devices and programming services would be interested in Glass. As Android and technology geeks, we had to see what Glass was about, and applications that might be appropriate for the markets that we serve. And, since the technology is linked with Android (Developer Site: https://developers.google.com/glass/), we are willing and able to offer development services for companies who need Glass programmers. Contact us for more information.

Only a few days after ordering Glass, it arrived by overnight courier. As you would expect for the high price tag, Glass was nicely packaged. You felt like you were opening something special. Glass came with the main device, sun shades, a charger, and a mono earbud. The earbud isn’t necessary if you’re in a quiet environment. I wear prescription glasses, so I wasn’t expecting to be able to see the display well. However, with some adjustment, I could use Glass with my thin-framed eye glasses. I wouldn’t want to do that for very long, but it was adequate for experimenting with Glass. Glass was reasonably comfortable on my head though it did feel like they leaned slightly to the right, where Glass has the majority of its weight.

I downloaded the Glass app from Google Play and was up and running in no time. However, “up and running” is a generous statement. Certainly the Glass app provided some basic setup instruction. However, it quickly became clear that operating Glass wasn’t really clear (pun intended). For example, I chose to add some Glassware apps. Those ones that needed to sync with Glass showed a waiting circle. For example, with Sports Yapper, the waiting circle seemed to go on for a while. I found that the app had installed, at least somewhat, or had at least added upcoming hockey games to Glass, but the circle continued to spin. That made knowing the state of the installed apps somewhat confusing. For Umano, it was worse, MyGlass indicated that Umano was installed, but I have yet to see any Umano stories, or other indications of its presence in my Glass view. Perhaps Umano stories will come with time. And, I am sure that the apps will improve over time.

The user interface of Glass, swiping to side scroll, tapping, swiping down for ‘back’, is functional. I do find that Glass sometimes misinterprets my intentions between these actions, but it’s not overly annoying. The voice commands also work reasonably well, but are by no means perfect. A couple of times, I had Glass not responding to my “ok glass” command at all, even though Glass seemed to be in listening mode (“ok glass” was displayed). I don’t know why. After a reboot, operation returned to normal. My biggest “wish” for Glass after initial review, is a Chromecast-like “send to Glass” feature from my phone. E.g. search for a location on my phone, then send the directions to Glass for navigation. Same for music and more. At this point, Glass would definitely be a supplement, not a replacement, for daily use. The user interface of Glass wasn’t initially obvious, but after some experimentation, and a visit to Glass help, https://www.google.com/glass/help/index.html, navigating was straightforward. The image below from DroidLife.com shows the layout of Glass.

Glass certainly feels to me like an application-specific device at this time, not something that you would want to wear all day. My Android phone is usually at hand, and I’d rather look at it, than at the Glass display. The available information is much greater, and the choices of input are better (either virtual keyboard or voice). That said, SDG Systems will be considering applications where Glass makes sense. Perhaps this is in order fulfillment with a Bluetooth-based barcode scanner, or in displaying images and SKUs of products that need to be packed for shipment. Or field service, deliveries, public service and more. The potential applications are only limited by one’s imagination. Google Glass is cool and has some great potential. The usefulness of wearable technology for some applications will be measured in both convenience and productivity gains.

Stay tuned as we explore Glass further. We welcome your feedback and thoughts on where Glass can be deployed in enterprise markets.


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