Tim Stevens is Editor in Chief at Engadget—one of the world’s most popular technology blogs. He’s also one of the first people outside of Google to wear Google Glass.
Tim describes his first few days wearing Glass as being an exciting experience because the device was constantly delivering information, emails, navigation; there was so much going on in your immediate space, he said, but as time went by, his feelings about Glass began to change.
“After about a week or so, you start to realize that ultimately there’s a pretty big commitment to putting this thing on your face and wearing it on your face all day long. So it wasn’t very long before I stopped wearing it at home, sitting in front of my computer. I very quickly realized there wasn’t any point wearing Glass when you’re sitting in front of a couple of displays,” Stevens said.
He also soon found that wearing Glass on the way to his New York office was problematic because people were constantly stopping him and asking questions about the device and wanting to try it out. While he was happy to answer their questions and let them try it, it became tricky when he was in a hurry to get to work or meetings on time, so he found it easier to stop wearing it in public.
“At this point, it is a little bit difficult to wear in public, and I don’t think it’s quite usable enough yet to be worn all the time in private, but I am still very, very excited about the potential of the device,” he said.
In the main, he describes his experience with Glass as being positive. Because some people have understandable concerns about privacy issues with the device, Stevens was surprised that no one he encountered had any negative issues with him wearing it, even when he was passing through airport security. He was also surprised by the extent of people’s awareness of Glass, in spite of the fact that Google has mass-marketed the device.
In terms of general utility, he found email notifications to be one the most advantageous aspects of the device. As a person who gets frequent emails, his phone is often beeping and flashing to let him know he has a new message, but because Glass let him see who the email was from and the first few lines of the message, he was able to tell straight away if it was important or if it was a message he could save until later.
“Google just also introduced the functionality of being able to have that read to you very quickly by voice. … So now you can speak to Glass and say, ‘OK Glass, read this email to me,'” he said.
Another advantage of Glass is the GPS system, which is very similar in style to the ones displayed on mobile phones, rather than a form of augmented reality. This, Stevens says, is less distracting than driving using an mobile phone or onboard GPS because you don’t need to take your eyes off the road.
Tim is excited about Glass’ potential in terms of augmenting reality. He sees a future in which devices like this will have developed to cover the full field of vision and will be able to provide much more information.
“So that if I sit down at my desk, I don’t even need to have monitors here because ultimately I can have as many monitors as I want to and they’re all virtual,” he said.
Currently, although Glass and similar devices do make messaging, navigation and Internet more efficient, they can only offer relatively minor modifications of reality. As technology advances over the next couple of years, we may possibly see devices with much more widespread functionality.
“You can imagine never having to commute to work. You can imagine sitting in your home office and having a co-worker walk into your office and having a face-to-face conversation with that co-worker even though they’re across the country or even across the world,” he said.
This would mean that people would be free to leave their homes as and when they want to, not because they have to. The time and freedom that such augmented reality would provide would encourage people to go out and do things they really enjoy rather than spending hours of their day commuting to work.
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