I keep reaching for a Google Glass that isn’t there.
A couple of days ago, I noticed that the foil was bubbling again. This will be the third time I’ve been affected by this major design flaw with the beta Glass units. You can read about my first and second times in earlier blog posts.
Because I’ve written about the foil problem before, I won’t belabor the point. I will give a shout-out to Google Glass customer service — so far anyway — on being prompt and courteous. They reached out within hours of my filing the proper form to get all the details and review my case. The past two times, they replaced my Glass for free under the 1-year warranty. That’s still the case with this unit so, hopefully, and assuming they have inventory available, I will soon have a shiny new Glass headed my way.
In the meantime, I’m stuck doing a lot of things the old-fashioned way. And by “old-fashioned,” I mean maybe about 16 months ago. I’ve used glass since December 2013 and in that time I have become so accustomed to the convenience it provides that not having it around is a letdown.
Here are a few examples from the just the past two days:
- Traffic checks — I often check the card that shows me the current time to get home and traffic delays before leaving the office. Sure, I can do that on my phone with Google Maps or Waze, but that’s more complicated and takes longer. (Trust me, once you find a way to do something easier and faster than you can do even on your mobile phone, you won’t want to go back.)
- Weather checks — I often check the weather throughout the day, including before I leave for work, before taking a lunchtime walk and before heading home. Yes, I have apps on my phone that can do that. But I can just look up and swipe to the temperature card on Glass for a quick overview, or tell it “Show me the weather” and get a radar map of the area displayed within seconds.
- To-Do notes — I have found this to be something I’ve missed a lot because I never realized how often I do this. I keep a couple of apps on my phone for to-do lists, shopping lists, etc. (Wunderlist and Google Keep if you are wondering.) But being able to add something quickly just by tapping Glass and speaking to it — whether I’m walking, sitting in my car at a traffic light or otherwise preoccupied, is apparently something I have become quite accustomed to. The same thing goes for text messages and Google Hangouts. For short bursts, they are both easier on Glass than on my phone.
- Taking pictures — I’ve had the opportunity thanks to some nice spring weather (finally!) to go on a few lunchtime walks and enjoy the sites. Three times now, I have found myself reaching up to press the button on Glass and snap a picture. Of course, my regular sunglasses don’t take pictures. So in one instance I just the let the moment pass. The other two times, it was worth the extra hassle of pulling my phone out of my pocket, starting the camera app, waiting for it to focus, and snapping the picture. I’m glad I did that, but there are plenty of pictures in my digital scrapbook that wouldn’t exist without the speed and convenience of shooting photos with Glass.
- Listening to music — As I mentioned, I’ve been taking lunchtime walks lately and in addition to not taking pictures, my regular sunglasses also don’t play music. I actually tapped the temple on my sunglass frames before remembering they weren’t sunGlass frames. That meant having to dig out earbuds and using my mobile phone. Yes, it’s another #firstworldproblem to complain about, but it’s not just about the convenience of being able to tell Glass to play music and just have it happen. In my case, using Glass for music means I can actually hear it better. I have hearing loss in one ear. That means that earbuds give me unequal sound because I can’t adjust the volume separately between the left and right speakers. With Glass’ conductive speaker, however, the music just flows throughout your head rather than through the ear canal the way it does with earbuds. The first time I listened to music on Glass was the first time in a long time that I had heard it evenly, without the sound being diminished on my left side. I also find it easier to keep track of my surroundings when listening to music through Glass rather than through headphones jammed into my ears.
So, the beta program for Glass is over. Version 2, whether’s it’s for consumers or business or both, is supposedly being worked on. But in the meantime, those of us with beta units are guarding them carefully because we don’t want to think about what would happen if we lost them or damaged them and could no longer enjoy their convenience. I’m getting a taste of that now and so I wish that Google and the Glass Team can come through again for one of their biggest advocates.
UPDATE: I received a positive response from Google Glass, which is great. They’ve approved a swap! The only downside is I have to return the old unit before they’ll ship the new one. Hopefully, I’ll have the new one in hand before the end of the month when I had plans to use Glass heavily. (Previously, they would ship the new one first, but they told me they can’t do that now.)
Loved reading about your experience with #GoogleGlass, Ari. You describe the capabilities and limitations of the technology in a meaningful way.