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Ask Slashdot: Should I Get Google Glass? 421

Posted by timothy
from the well-are-you-a-stone-thrower? dept.
lunatick writes "I put in my application for Google Glass as a joke. I never figured I would be selected. Well in less than one week I got my invite to buy Google Glass. My main hold back is the $1500 price tag for a device that just seems to be a camera and navigation aid. Does anyone in the /. community have Google Glass and can they give some advice to the rest of us considering it?"
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Ask Slashdot: Should I Get Google Glass?

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  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:47PM (#46297009)

    Period

  • by Gavin Scott (15916) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:48PM (#46297025)

    Pretty soon there will be a $399 version that's 10x better than the first generation.

    If you can get $1,500 worth of fun showing it off to people in the first year then sure.

    G.

  • by jythie (914043) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:54PM (#46297089)
    Kinda like the 'if you have to ask, you can not afford it', if you balk at $1,500, it probably is not for you. Google Glass right now is an expensive toy for people who either can afford to chunk the cash into entertainment or derive enough social benefit from owning one to justify the cost.

    Granted there are also some tinkerers out there that are playing with them, but I suspect they are kinda like the 3d printer market, present but fairly niche. For the most part, either you make enough that the cost is nothing to you, or you decide the social status from your peer group is worth the outlay.
  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:54PM (#46297091)

    You need an invite to BUY a product. This trick has worked in so many different products and services, for example facebook or 'limited edition' coin collections on late night T.V. There's probably some other very good examples, but those were the first two that came to mind.

  • by nicholasjay (921044) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:54PM (#46297093)

    The main idea behind getting Google Glass now is to help improve it. Develop apps for it that enhance the experience. If you're not going to do that, I'd consider the money poorly spent.

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:57PM (#46297133)

    No, I really have no use for the camera part. I perfer s SLR. My question is more what apps are out there?

    You don't spend $1500 on a device without having a use case. And if you can't even google a list of google glass apps, then I doubt you can even formulate a use case.

    In which case just send me the $1500 and we'll be both happy - you will have divested yourself of $1500 for no reason at all (which you were already going to do) and I have a use case for $1500 more of camera equipment.

  • by torchdragon (816357) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:58PM (#46297151) Homepage

    I'm an early adopter because of my employer. We do mobile development and have been pushing to be a leader in Glass development. I've had a lot of hands on time with the device and its is a really cool piece of tech but there's a bunch of gotchas for it.

    1. Its limited. There's little it can do right now that isn't handled better on your smartphone.
    2. Battery usage is pretty abysmal. If you're looking to get a solid 8-10 hours of casual usage, you won't make it.
    3. Its expensive. $1500 is a lot for what it can do.

    Those things are severe downsides as a non-developer. However, if you're interested in learning how to develop on the device and juicing up your resume with wearable design / implementation experience, then for someone like me (a mobile developer), the $1500 is an investment that you get to play around with on your off hours.

    So if you want to be a leading edge developer and you can back up your interest with cash, go for it. If you're looking for a good investment on a solid end user experience you will be disappointed, just wait for the consumer version to hit the market.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday February 20, 2014 @01:59PM (#46297167)

    Google held a "glass event" in my city the other day and I had a chance to try it out.

    I found it awkward to use: the gesture interface is clunky, voice commands are obtrusive to people nearby, and it takes way too much attention and focus to use the screen. I found it harder to use Glass while walking around than it is to use an Android smartphone while walking around.

    Also, the apps they had available to demo -- which I can only assume are some of the best existing on the platform right now, because why would you demo anything other than the best? -- were not particularly useful. The closest that came to being cool was a program that used the camera to take pictures of signs in foreign languages and then display them translated to English. I could see that being useful if you travel in foreign countries extensively, but even then the experience was clunky -- you had to pick which language you thought the sign was in and aim the camera directly at the middle of the sign for it to work. And even then the translation wasn't "stable:" there was one German word displayed along an arch instead of a straight line where the translation kept shifting between completely different words as the viewing angle changed slightly.

    If you want to develop apps for Google Glass, it might be worth getting. But if you just want to use it, it's not ready yet. Personally, I think it's actually a regression in functionality compared to what people like Steve Mann and Thad Starner had a decade ago, because it lacks both a reasonable input interface (e.g. a twiddler [handykey.com]) and software that actually does something that a smartphone can't.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:02PM (#46297191)
    That's because, despite what the idiots on Slashdot assert, the point isn't video. It's having a convenient screen always in view. The camera is more for environmental awareness than recording people/events. It is *not* an augmented reality device because the side-screen can't overlay information on the visual field of the wearer.

    When you think of it as a convenient remote display, and nothing more, then it becomes much less "interesting".

    The only app I'd want is a drunk driving app. An app that detects eyelid dilation, eye movements per minute, and eye movement speed could set off warnings when a driver is unsafe (too tired, too drunk). And that doesn't even use the external-facing camera.
  • by hoyle (89469) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:04PM (#46297219)

    The cost is not worth it, not for a device that you'll be using for yourself.

    I have one that I got for research purposes, and I love it. However, I would not have paid my own money for it. It does not provide $1500 of utility at the moment.

    Now, if you are looking to get into wearable computing application development, that's a different story and I'd say get one. Try to get your company to pay for it, though.

  • by backslashdot (95548) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:12PM (#46297325)

    You can record people 1000x easier and less conspicuously with a smartphone in your hand or pocket than with Google Glass. Yes SMARTPHONE IN YOUR HAND too. You can hold it in your hand and point it to people without being totally obvious about it. You can act like you are just holding your phone, or texting, or listening to music, or even being on the phone. You don't need to look at the thing you are recording. You may have some image stabilization issues if you have unsteady hands -- but for the most part you can get good video. Of course the easiest way is to have the phone in your shirt pocket peeping out.

    With Google Glass, you literally have to stare in the people's direction or general area like a stalker -- it becomes SUPER obvious.

  • by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:26PM (#46297549)

    people think when they're evaluating technology that they're choosing between buying it today and not buying it. In fact, you're choosing to buy it today or buy it at some point in the future. would you rather spend $1500 today to buy an innovative device with limited use, or would you prefer to spend $1500 in 3 years to buy the same device except it has many uses?

    there's no right answer, it will vary from person to person.

  • Yes. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:37PM (#46297683) Homepage Journal

    But wait until the technology can be added to normal-looking eyeglasses.

    There are lots of applications for Google Glass technology that have nothing to do with voyeurism.

    The people who are scoffing at Google Glass right now just can't afford it yet.

  • by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:44PM (#46297779)
    It won't be the same device in 3 years. It'll be lighter, more powerful, and less expensive.

    I once spent $600 on a CD recorder, and spent $1000 on an eMagin HMD that Nvidia made obsolete with the next driver release. The lesson I learned is to never be an early adopter unless the expense is trivial to you so it falls into the toy budget.
  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @02:57PM (#46297935)

    The camera is more for environmental awareness

    What, like an eye?

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @03:00PM (#46297983)

    There's only one problem. Google Glass is going to take off like wildfire

    Ah, the Nostradamus argument.

    You are deluded into thinking that because the Slashdot crowd is anti-Glass as a rule that that will carry over to the general population. We don't like Facebook either. Amazingly, Zuckerburg is still filthy rich. Go figure.

    So your argument is that it's always the opposite. That what Slashdot likes, must fail, and what Slashdot dislikes must succeed? If not, you have no argument. Just an example. And I already gave you 3 examples where Slashdot's dislikes have been entirely in like with a new product's failure. All of them being actual hardware that costs money, unlike your example of Facebook.

    Try again.

  • Re:No (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20, 2014 @03:24PM (#46298229)

    "There should be a little red 'recording' light on there."

    Are you under the impression that all the people typing on their smartphones are texting?
    We are filming you, every minute of every day.

  • by claytongulick (725397) on Thursday February 20, 2014 @04:04PM (#46298629) Homepage

    A while ago I was also accepted to the glass explorers program. I was pretty excited at the time, and was planning to go ahead and get one. I'll admit to being a bit of a Google fanboy, though recently they've lost some of their shine in my eyes.

    At the time, there were a few compelling reasons why I decided to wait, which I summarized here: Why I'll Wait on Glass [google.com]

    One thing to consider, is that along with the $1,500 price tag, unless you live close to one of the fitting centers, you'll also have to book airfare and hotel, which can be as much as the Glass itself, so that really raises the price a lot. At least, this was the case when I was invited to the program, it may have changed.

    For those who don't like clicking G+ links, here's my full original post:

    Why I'll Wait on Glass

    So, I received my invitation to purchase #googleglass and become a #glassexplorers . Google notified me that I had 14 days to make my purchase and schedule a pickup date.

    I've put a lot of thought into this, and decided not to move forward with the purchase. I'm outlining my reasons below, and I hope that the amazing folks on the Glass team can take this post with the spirit that it's intended: as constructive, objective feedback from a developer who is a huge Google fan.

    When I first heard about Glass, I was gobsmacked. The notion of having a powerful, wearable computing device with an array of sensors, camera and floating UI always available to the user, with speech recognition and integration with wireless services - well frankly, I had trouble containing my excitement.

    At the local bar, I waxed on (to annoying lengths, I'm sure) about how this was a revolution in technology. How it would change the world and the way we interact with it.

    I shared my excitement with my family, and when I was selected as a #glassexplorers they had to pull me down out of the clouds.

    I was busy planning apps that I was going to develop, I had visions of an app where I could say "ok glass, find my car" and a floating 3d compass arrow would appear and guide me.

    I had visions of walking into my house and saying "ok, glass turn on the lights, lock the doors, arm security", and seeing an interactive display of all my devices. I would be able to say "ok, glass show front camera" and I would be able to look out of the security camera on my front porch.

    I had ideas for interactive augmented reality games, where the user could scan the sky for alien UFO's and see 3d spaceships through the Glass display window.

    I eagerly refreshed myself on OpenCV, preparing for all the computer vision awesomeness I would be able to develop (I'd already done some of this work on android tablets, using the native sdk).

    With all of these visions in my head, I set out to begin development. Finally the new api was released. I sat down at my main development box, pulling up the docs, expecting to see all of the richness of the Android API plus Glass specific enhancements.

    What I got was: Cards. A completely non-interactive API where I had to broker every request through a complex chain of servers where eventually, at some point, some static text or images may or may not popup on the user's screen.

    I was actually in disbelief. I was sure I was missing some documentation somewhere. I poured through the docs, trying to understand what I was looking at. I felt that I must be missing something really obvious. From what I could tell, the amazing awesomness that was Glass, was limited by the API to being essentially nothing more than a SMS messaging system, similar to text messages on my cell.

    None of my applications were possible. I couldn't talk to the accelerometer or other sensors. All I could do was go through a strange "add my app as a contact" process so that I could post text messages with some limited media to the user's timeline. That's it. Interactivity was limited to glorified hyperlinks that would post a me

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