back to article Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?

Seldom has a device been so reviled and praised at the same time. But is Google Glass the future of wearable connectivity or simply the toy of the self-appointed tech elite? Is it perhaps something in between? I’m by no means an early adopter of gadgetry. I buy kit only when can I see a clear use for it and I don’t …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Broked?

    I know it's early, so maybe it's just me, but 3 pages all reading exactly the same?

  2. TRT Silver badge

    Let's see...

    A pair of glasses that gives you instant access to a whole library of skills, experience and knowledge.

    Joe 90 for the WIN.

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Up

      Re: Let's see...

      I think there's a fair gap between uploading skills to your brain, and being able to read a wikipedia page about an activity. Still, it's a start.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Let's see...

        But now you CAN check out 6502 assembly code at will while running down the street pursuing Sarah Connor a would-be Jihadi who disengaged from British society.

      2. thomasthetanker

        Re: Let's see...

        Agreed. But wait until someone creates a Youtube 'How To' using Glass and you follow along wearing Glass.

        I'll be doing brain surgery in less than a week.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Let's see...

          I'll be doing brain surgery in less than a week.

          "Align the cross marks with the patient's subdural hemiotrophic epicyclic complex.

          Confirm that you are standing on the patient's left, looking towards their feet.

          Make a shallow incision along the green dotted line.

          Be ready to quickly... Buffering 10% 20%..."

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let's see...

          Now you're scrambling my head. Is there a YouTube How To Use Google Glass which you can view on Google Glass?

          And on the Joe 90 front... IIRC the first "brain dump" Joe got was of his father's own knowledge and experience... so wouldn't that mean he gained the memory of doing his own mother? Sick! And in a later episode, he brain raped his father's girlfriend to see if she was a spy. That poor kid's going to need a psychiatrist. Or do they just download one into his brain to fix it from the inside?

          1. Mark York 3 Silver badge

            Re: Let's see...

            Joe was adopted.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Let's see...

              Joe was adopted

              That explains why the professor was willing to let him climb a 1000ft transmitter mast, cheek the Ruskies, go scuba diving in enemy waters, defuse a bomb etc etc.

          2. Eltonga
            Headmaster

            Re: Let's see...

            Actually, the brain dumps were made by the BIGRAT, and the glasses only worked to allow Joe's memory to retain the "dump". As soon as he took the glasses out, there it went all the alien knowledge.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Let's see...

          I'll be doing brain surgery in less than a week.

          So? I can do brain surgery now, and I don't even have Glass.1

          1Desired patient outcome may not occur.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's see...

      A pair of glasses that gives you instant access to a whole library of skills, experience and knowledge.

      .. and at the same time carefully charts your entire life, right up to what your kids look like when you give them a bath - until the Met Police needs another easy win for its child porn arrest statistics. OK, I'm exaggerating here but you ARE giving permission to an entirely untrustworthy party to invade your life to a degree it never achieved before, and by carrying this thing around you're doing this to others too without their permission - hence the potential for serious objections.

      In that context (from the article):

      nobody so much as raised an eyebrow bar a chirpy lass in the Apple Store who asked what I thought of it. I’m beginning to suspect this whole "glasshole" brouhaha is little more than a media invention.

      That's because most people don't even have an *idea* of how deep Glassholes can rip into their privacy - just as most average end user has no idea just how much they are taken for a ride by companies like Google when they proclaim their services as "free". The more this product spreads, the more this will become clear, and at that point I would like to see them try again.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's see...

      It's actually nice to read a review that didn't just jump on the usual sensationalist horseshit we have had to suffer.

      Glass isn't designed to be used 24x7, just like your Bluetooth headset for your phone isn't either. Both make you look a dickhead if you use it when doing the shopping.

      It's a shame that other reviewers don't grasp this quite simple concept.

      I can think of ALOT of uses for glass, and many of them are niche, but if the price drops to £300 ish, then I would consider buying one. For example you can get Ski Goggles with LESS functionality that this that cost quite alot more, and are JUST ski goggles.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Let's see...

        > Both make you look a dickhead if you use it when doing the shopping.

        I'm sure people said exactly the same thing about mobiles once. And further back about framed lenses that you could put on your nose.

      2. Sherrie Ludwig

        Re: Let's see...

        Heads-up navigating while driving, where's the nearest (loo, gas station, Chinese restaurant, etc.), fun for architecture buffs or museum-goers, plus useful for, say, skills like changing a tire or learning a language. Oh,and I WOULD use it while shopping, for my list and where to find it in the store, plus calculating total I'm spending. Yup, expensive,but I'm not an early adopter, so will look at it when the price drops.

      3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Let's see...

        I can think of ALOT of uses for glass

        I can think of one: it could notice when someone types "ALOT" and inform them that the Alot is better than you at everything.

  3. Ralph B

    Battery Life

    Why don't they just stick a 2nd battery on the other arm? It would double the battery life and fix the aesthetic (and physical) imbalance in one go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battery Life

      or make a google hat which contains a massive battery that you connect to your google glass.

      1. TitterYeNot
        Coat

        Re: Battery Life

        "or make a google hat which contains a massive battery that you connect to your google glass."

        Well, as glasshole has made it into the vernacular, I'm guessing that would be known as a 'massive asshat'...

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Battery Life

          A roll of AA's inserted anally...

          Or for the extreme user, a couple of lantern batteries.

  4. James 51

    The title is too long

    "If you don’t use Gmail, don’t have your contacts in Google and don't store your music on Google Play, there is arguably little point in buying Glass."

    Should start the review with that.

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: The title is too long

      I don't have any Apple devices and haven't purchased anything in iTunes, should I buy an iWatch?

      I think the review nails it; a friend has the Glass (academic discounts FTW) and it's a nice piece of kit with a tiny, specialist use case. I cannot justify buying one myself because I'm also not invested in the Google ecosystem (never mind the current asking price), but they jumped at the chance.

      It is cool to play with for one for 5 minutes or so though :)

    2. VinceH

      Re: The title is too long

      "Should start the review with that."

      And end it there, too.

  5. Arctic fox

    Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

    "As for the potential for getting punched on the nose if you walk into a bar wearing Glass... well, idiots get thumped all the time for lesser reasons and anyone who shows such a staggering lack of social grace will get no sympathy for me."

    .......if you did walk into a bar with a camera and start photographing perfect strangers without their say-so that is very like what would happen. When equipped as a glasshole however a certain type is going to assume that:

    A. He cannot see whether you are using the camera or not.

    B. He will then insist that you take them off so that you couldn't take any.

    C. He will then thump you if/when you refuse.

    The old tradition (from a very long time ago) that it is unfair to hit someone wearing glasses will take on a whole new meaning in as much as those wearing glasses will be considered to be fair game in certain circles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

      Really? You must go to some pretty crappy bars then. I see people taking smartphone pics all the time even in bars, capturing at least a dozen 'strangers' in the process of taking their selfie.

      The bar itself is almost definitely fitted with CCTV recording absolutely everyone who walks in.

      The idea that someone who wears Glass is going to walk up to you, look at you and take your picture (just for giggles) is ridiculous. If you think that you are so photo-worthy or paranoid that everyone wants to take a picture of your mug you also probably shouldn't be roaming the streets alone. It would be as mad as a stranger walking up to you and asking "can I take your photo", it just isn't going to happen - why would they, why would you think they would?

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

        "It would be as mad as a stranger walking up to you and asking "can I take your photo", it just isn't going to happen"

        About as mad as being paranoid that lamp posts would want your picture, eh?

        And yet, there the cameras are.

        And like the lamppost. it isn't the person wearing the glass that's the problem, it's who's monitoring at the other end.

        Disclaimer: I wasn't born paranoid, but recent events show it's the best policy.

    2. Spleen

      Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

      I think the rule is that it's unfair to hit someone who *needs* to wear glasses. I think hitting someone who wears glasses for no reason other than fashion has always been obligatory.

      (This still applies to Google Glass, since as the reviewer points out, their practical use is near nil. People only wear them as an attention-seeking device.)

      @AC: You know perfectly well that there is a difference between someone taking a picture on their smartphone in which you are an irrelevant part of the background, and someone walking up to you, holding a camera in your face and deliberately recording everything you say and do. This is what someone who does not remove their Google Glasses is doing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

        "This is what someone who does not remove their Google Glasses is doing."

        Seriously?

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: does not remove their Google Glasses is doing." Seriously?

          Potentially.

          But the privacy issues for the poor wearer (the real victim) are worse.

        2. Spleen

          Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

          "Seriously?"

          Yes, seriously. You always treat a gun as if it's loaded. You always treat a microphone, a tape recorder or a video camera as if it's recording. Even if you've been told it's off. Those who forget this rule end up on YouTube and in the dole queue. Or in the Darwin Awards, in the case of the gun.

        3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

          "This is what someone who does not remove their Google Glasses is doing."

          Seriously?

          Nah. Being hipsters, they'll be doing it ironically.

    3. Joe Harrison

      Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

      I'm not sure people would thump you in reality, although as you have set the location to be a bar who knows what people will do when they've been drinking.

      There is a guy in America who gets someone to film him as he walks through Da Hood filming strangers. Predictably they mostly do all get immediately violent, some of them even pulling guns. I prefer to think UK bods would be a bit more like "now look here old chap".

      Regardless, I think if you actually did thump someone merely on the grounds that they might have been filming you then you would be getting your collar felt shortly afterwards.

      1. Law

        Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

        "I'm not sure people would thump you in reality"

        I have a feeling people will get punched, and for wearing glass - but not for privacy reasons.

        There's going to be quite a lot of mugging victims when you're wearing something on your head as expensive as a high end smartphone for all to see - and it stands out.

      2. Pierre Castille
        Go

        Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

        I take lots of photographs on my travels to various cities around the world - with a rather conspicuous camera. Over many years I have found that most people just smile, even if they are not the subject of the photo. A few act up for the camera (a large proportion but not all seem to be inebriated). A small minority ask questions about my interest, so I show them photos I have been taking, and the only objections I have received are from people involved in criminal activities - the last case was a young man stealing metal from a recycling bin in Skopje, Macedonia.

        What would be really cool with google glass would be a second camera that photographed your eyeball to determine what you are looking at. Many years ago I helped a market research company purchase an eye-mark camera. An interesting and seriously expensive piece of kit costing £33,000 in 1990's money.

    4. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

      "The old tradition (from a very long time ago) that it is unfair to hit someone wearing glasses will take on a whole new meaning in as much as those wearing glasses will be considered to be fair game in certain circles."

      What a twuntish statement.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

        Easy. Don't go to the type of bars where people find thumping strangers fun. I doubt that would restrict my choice of bars because why would you go somewhere like that anyway?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

          > Don't go to the type of bars where people find thumping strangers fun. I doubt that would restrict my choice of bars because why would you go somewhere like that anyway?

          "To thump strangers", said the sadist.

          --To be thumped by strangers!!--interjected the masochist.

    5. Lostintranslation

      Re: Well, no I'm not in favour of thumping people as a general rule but.......

      The conversation would most likely start with "Oy, What are looking at?", to which the only honest reply would be "Well, everything actually".

  6. Ketlan
    Thumb Down

    Non-optional spannerisation...

    "Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner"

    Nah, sorry. You'll still look like a complete spanner.

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: Non-optional spannerisation...

      You may be right, and sadly it's nothing to do with Glass.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Happy

      Re: Non-optional spannerisation...

      GG is not for me, but the "pub finder" app has promise.

      // also, the photo of the star chart app is simply brilliant

  7. David 66

    Nice article - thanks

    Precisely what I wanted to know about glass and the 'in use' photos completed the picture. I look forward to being able to sleep at night with that out of the way.

  8. James 51

    So, how long before the 3D version comes out?

  9. Thecowking

    I wasn't impressed

    My office has them, had a play over the recent long weekend, and despite my being a complete google fanboy, they were much less impressive than I had hoped.

    They did very little that my pebble doesn't do, except the pictures. Sadly as alluded to in the article, these aren't great. The navigation was a nice touch, but the voice recognition was terrible compared to my Nexus 4. Conversely I found battery life to be quite decent when integrated with my general working day, but I was never able to dismiss the overlay of the prism from my vision, it was very annoying.

    General view for me was, it's fantastic for taking bad pictures quickly.

  10. AMBxx Silver badge
    Windows

    Be nice if Apple had a go at some of these

    Apple-free household, but it would be good to see what Apple could do to the aesthetics of these. Not sure if they''d just make 'looking like a spanner' fashionable, or if they could actually make them look sensible in their own right.

    1. Anonymoist Cowyard

      Re: Be nice if Apple had a go at some of these

      Sadly, I suspect until Apple make some, then the press will continue to push the glasshole hate on the product, ensuring sheep also jump on that bandwagon.

  11. TheresaJayne

    would be nice to have but not necessary just yet,

    Kudos to the music selection Crisis is one of my fave albums...

    1. ravenviz Silver badge
      Trollface

      Does Crises come pre-loaded?

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  12. returnmyjedi

    I never much cared for Shadow on the Wall or much of Oldfield's Crises era output. Give me Ommadawn or Platinum any day.

  13. JennyL

    Eye choice

    Not all people want the thing on their right eye, I for instance have a strabismus which means my less dominant left eye would be a perfect place to put the screen where it doesn't get in the way.

    So I'd add the ability to flip it to right and left sides to your list of killer options for a Glass-for-the-masses.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Eye choice

      I'm sure I read that Google do a left eye version. After all, pirates might want to be usin' Glass. Sat-nav be so much easier for findin' yer buried dubloons. You needs it when yer parrot has pecked out yer starboard eye, aye.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Coat

        Re: Eye choice

        Apple's alternative is of course called the iPatch...

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Pirate

        Re: Eye choice

        "'twas me first day with tha hook...."

        Arrrrr!

  14. eJ2095

    y bother

    Still to bulky for my liking, maybe in ten years

  15. Whitter
    Devil

    Re unbending legs

    It's a feature: you aren't meant to take them off. Ever.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Re unbending legs

      Surely they're arms? After all, you fold your arms, not even yoga masters can fold their legs flat...

    2. Eltonga
      Devil

      Re: Re unbending legs

      I've been told that when you put GG for first time you hear something like: *garbled* Resistance is futile... prepare to be assimilated.

  16. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    The killer app for these

    will be when there is a framework that makes it easy for the likes of iFixit & Haynes to publish their guides for it. I can see a hell of a market as a golf range finder too.

  17. stu 4

    Daily show got it spot on

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClvI9fZaz6M

  18. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Couple of questions

    Alun,

    Did you have a problem where all the info was going to one eye, so all that one-eyed reading gave you a headache? Or were you not using it much at any one time? It was what I first thougth of when you mentioned using it to watch video.

    On that photo you took when driving, with sat-nav displayed, is that the real apparent size of the text in your visual field? Or have Google made that little insert bigger in the photos than it looks in real life? I think Glass could be a brilliant tool, mainly for travelling. I'm not interested in checking my emails while walking down the street, but to be able to use sat-nav and look up info on public transport while wandering London would be very useful. As well as seeing texts from whoever I'm meeting. But my eyesight is rubbish, so I'm interested in how big the text is. I can just about read subtitles on a 50" telly at 6-8 feet (no chance on a 26"). But then subtitles may be a smaller font size than the equivalent Google use on Glass. I hope.

    1. Al Taylor

      Re: Couple of questions

      Re. getting a headache, surprisingly not. I longest I had them on continuously was just over two hours (while driving) and though I expected a headache, none arrived.

      In regard to the vignette with the satnav showing, the navigation box actually appears a little larger than that by a factor of about x 1.5. Also, as you move your head to the left and/or down the box appears to move more into the centre of your line of sight.

      Incidentally I wear contacts (+2.25 left, +2.5 right) but found that this caused no issues with Glass.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Couple of questions

        Thanks for that. It's a lot bigger than I was expecting then.

        One thing I liked the idea of using it for was for reading signs. Hopefully the camera can magnify live images (I assume it acts as a viewfinder). Otherwise take snap of train departure board, then magnify and read. Although you can often go online and get stuff so that you don't have to read signs now - most train apps tell you the platform. That probably doesn't work in airports though, where a monocular comes in handy, and Google Glass could be rather useful. These places do like to put vital information on signs 20 foot up in the air. Which guarantees you can never get close enough to read them.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: Couple of questions

          Does it restrict your peripheral vision? It looks like it does in a couple of the photo's

          1. Al Taylor

            Re: Couple of questions

            Not as you'd notice despite the way it looks. You are aware that there is "something" lurking above your right eyebrow but you soon forget it's there as you would a thick pair of spectacle frames.

  19. Mage Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Bit feeble

    It needs to be about x 3 resolution

    optionally both eyes

    Less obtrusive and the electronics demountable from holder and mountable on ANY spec frame.

    Can it use a battery & feature expansion pack styled like a phone/MP3 player/pocket radio with cord only needed for power? If not, why not.

    Needs to be configurable for any services including your own home server. I'm never EVER going to buy a "walled garden" gadget again. It becomes a brick if vendor loses interest or goes bust. At least my Kindle can be used still if Amazon vanishes, though its "Share" feature is stupidity as it only works with Twitter or Facebook, but at least the notes can be read as text via USB storage (but missing context!).

    The Glass appears to be uselessly Google centric and invasive to privacy of the user. (who has really just taken out a lease rather than actually buying a gadget.

  20. russell 6
    Joke

    Does it understand Scottish?

    http://youtu.be/sAz_UvnUeuU

  21. dotdavid

    Glass vs Wear

    I've seen discussions that people with both Glass and Android Wear (the "smart" watches) say that basically the latter does for a couple of hundred quid what the former does for a grand, i.e. easy-access notifications and access to Google Now. Does El Reg have plans for a Wear review?

  22. Yugguy

    Video streaming while driving.

    Nope, can't see a problem with that. ?!??!!?

  23. andy gibson

    car

    Don't really care about Google Glass, but is that a door wedge on your driver's window glass?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: car

      > Don't really care about Google Glass, but is that a door wedge on your driver's window glass?

      My guess is it's there to jam a dodgy electric window in place.

      1. AceRimmer

        Re: car

        This is what happens when you use ad blockers on el reg

        won't someone think of the journos?

      2. Al Taylor

        Re: car

        Yup, spot on,.

    2. Phil W

      Re: car

      Oddly the door wedge is the thing I noticed most to.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " this whole "glasshole" brouhaha is little more than a media invention"

    El Reg you mean ;)

  25. Maty

    a thought ...

    If they made a version with a screen on right and left eyes, could they tweak it to get full 3-D?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Where do I put this thing when I'm not wearing it?"

    The reason Google didn't make it fold up so would be easy to keep with you while not wearing is that they want you to wear it all the time.

  27. Chris G Silver badge

    Massive realtime IP metadata analysis

    If it is not already being applied through CCTV then a back door into glass if it became ubiquitous may be useful for someone.

    Personally I have always considered over surveillance of the population as open to misuse.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely you should let that fellow in the top photo go back to his day job as the Kray's getaway driver?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting,

    For me the only use for it is navigation. Would be useful in the car. Google should make a Sport version for cyclists. Make it water proof, a head band so it doesn't fall off. Perfect for a long cycle tour. It would need to be much cheaper though.

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