Google Glass is serious business and Google is taking its “Explorer” program seriously.
Let’s start with a quick description of Google Glass. Glass is wearable technology that’s basically a pair of glasses with a bunch of features that allow you to interact digitally without touching your phone or computer.
There’s a small display window that projects just above your eye and never within your field of normal vision. The display itself is amazing as it truly looks like a big screen television several feet away. Features include a five megapixel camera that takes stills and HD videos, a WiFi receiver, mobile browser and Bluetooth that connects to your smartphone.
There’s also over 12 gigabytes of storage in the headset so you don’t have to worry about backing up your media on the go. Glass will synch wirelessly or through its crazy-fast USB connection.
The Google Glass Explorers program is a second-wave of testing by Google. The Glass was initially shared with developers and tech insiders, while the Explorers program opened up invitations to a small group of the general population through a Twitter contest. There are approximately six thousand Google Glass Explorers across the country.
When I first received my invitation to be a part of the Google Glass Explorer program, I was beyond ecstatic. I’m a digital person by nature and profession, and love playing with emerging technologies. I had also just made the leap from the iPhone 5 to an Android phone so I was feeling particularly open to trying new gadgets.
I was officially invited to join the program on March 28, 2013 and received my invitation to schedule Glass pick-up almost a month later on June 21. Yes, time moved slowly while I waited.
One initially annoying requirement of joining the Explorers program is that you must get your Glass in person from Google offices in California or New York. But ignoring the travel woes, the fitting was actually an excellent and helpful experience. A necessary experience.
My fitting was July 11 in Venice, California. It took about an hour and was an in-depth walk-through on the current capabilities of Glass as well as a discussion about features to come. New explorers are each assigned an on-site guide and mine was quite pleasant and knowledgable. He was a true fan of Glass, and it was clear that all the Google representatives I met that day were genuinely enthusiastic about Glass. They also seemed particularly excited by my choice of “the orange one.” Color choices include orange, blue, slate, white and black.
The above photo was the first taken with my Glass during the introductory session with my guide. While he said taking his photo was fine and expected as part of the training – videos too, for that matter – I decided to spare him from random inclusion in this article.
Getting used to Glass was easier than you might expect and as you can imagine the device felt a bit clunky at first. But I left my fitting feeling confident about how to use the device and quickly learned how to describe and demonstrate its uses to curious friends and strangers.
I’ve been using Google Glass for two weeks now, and it is definitely a keeper.
Full disclosure: Suzie Austin is an executive at usedview.com and her invitation to participate in the Google Glass program was personal and not directly tied to her work. However, as sharing the unique experiences of Google Glass is part of the commitment to the Explorers program, Suzie volunteered to be our first-person Google Glass Examiner.