All Hands on Tech: Google Glass

To put on Google Glass is not to see what wearable technology is capable of today. It’s to get a vision of the future.

The technology is so new, it’s barely beyond the prototype stage. In fact, there’s less than a dozen in all of Canada. But we connected with Toronto-based developer and Google Glass Explorer Macy Kuang to take us through the looking glass.

If Google Glass were released today, it would never fly as a mass market product. There’s too many user interface features that need to be smoothed out.

You need to call out voice commands to use Glass. Imagine you could only use your iPhone with Siri to control it. You can also tilt your head to scroll up and down the screen. It must constantly be connected to the Internet to be useful. So you need to be connected to a WiFi network, or tethered to your smartphone.

But you can definitely see the potential of Glass. Macy says she found hers helpful when exploring the streets of Montreal.

I found the navigation with Google Maps to be a great experience. I called out “Directions to Park” and Glass quickly found the closest park to my location using GPS. I swiped to walking navigation on my touch panel and got turn-by-turn directions. As a man, I really appreciate the idea that I’ll never have to ask for directions again.

Glass also supports Google Now. That service pushes you information you’re interested in before you search for it. So you’ll never miss another meeting reminder. No more excuses to be late.

You can also use the camera on Glass to easily take pictures. Imagine not having to reach into your pocket and fumble for your smartphone when a Kodak moment arises. Simply say “Take a picture” and it’s done.

Communications are also made more convenient with Glass. Read your incoming messages and respond to them with voice dictation. You can even do a video conference using Google Hangouts. You’ll see the other person, but they won’t see you.

Developers are already making Glass more useful by creating apps. Macy has designed one to help her use a bike sharing service in Toronto.

There’s no timeline for a mass release of Google Glass. I wonder if it will ever really be a popular consumer product. It might remain a niche technology, useful in certain professions like medicine. To win most people over, it might have to be a bit more fashionable.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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