I met Don Schwartz, New England area Google Glass Explorer, at Tech in Motion's recent "Wearable Technology Mixer" at the Baseball Tavern in Boston. Schwartz and I discussed Google Glass and the ways its augmented reality is a key disruptor in the digital space.
1) Tell me about yourself, how you came to become a Google Glass tester, and what kinds of things you do with it.
In February, I responded to the Google challenge, "If I had Glass... " My response: If I had glass I would loan them to my son to use throughout his work day on #Okemo Mountain Resort. We'd see the terrain parks in all their awesomeness plus the folks who work to build them. #ifihadglass I can imagine nothing finer than Glass on Snow.
My son, Dan, will definitely take Glass on the mountain once there's snow. I, however, have been mostly using Glass to chronicle life. I've taken it fly fishing in Maine and recorded myself catching and landing fish. I take photo walks daily, the camera is simply amazing for taking off the cuff snaps of events as they happen in front of you. Hiking with Glass one needs only ask Glass to take a picture and it does. No need to stop and pull out your camera or phone. I am also working on hands-on training, but not yet satisfied with the results I've recorded. As surgeons have discovered, Glass is made for recording those times when you need both hands but would like a user point of view. For me, that is tying flies for salmon and trout.
2) What was the hardest thing to get used to when you first started using Google Glass?
People's reactions to Glass are striking. Most love it and want to know everything but some are leery, and learning how to manage the moment is something all Explorers have had to learn.
3) What is the best feature or capability that isn't as publicized as some of the others?
I love asking Glass to take a note and what I say is transcribed and added to my Evernote account.
4) What future feature are you looking forward to most that Google may roll out and why?
The new hardware we are to get in November answers both of my needs. The bone conducting sound is sometimes hard to hear and we are getting an earbud. As a prescription wearer, I'm glad they are introducing prescription lenses. I actually went and got contacts this summer because of Glass.
5) What do you think the future of Google Glass is? How do you define the success of the product?
People will be surprised at the number of professional use cases being developed. Glass applications in medicine, emergency response, law enforcement, education, cooking and other professional uses are being funded and will drive the initial wave.
Google is first a services company. Hardware they develop, such as Glass, is designed to create or advance a category of Google services consumers. We will know Glass has succeeded when compatible devices come to market running the same apps and using the same services.
Bonus: What is the funniest or most awkward story you have around the product?
Ordering and paying for a Starbucks coffee at the Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA. After the cashier screamed "is that Google Glass?" I took her picture and she insisted on calling over her co-workers for a look. This happens all the time, but it feels very awkward when the line behind is waiting to order.