Joshua Topolsky on Google Glass: Awesome, Self-Conscious

Joshua Topolsky, editor of The Verge, had a chance to try out the new Google Glass, a $1,500 wearable computer. He recounts his impressions:

But what’s it actually like to have Glass on? To use it when you’re walking around? Well, it’s kind of awesome.

Think of it this way — if you get a text message or have an incoming call when you’re walking down a busy street, there are something like two or three things you have to do before you can deal with that situation. Most of them involve you completely taking your attention off of your task at hand: walking down the street. With Glass, that information just appears to you, in your line of sight, ready for you to take action on. And taking that action is little more than touching the side of Glass or tilting your head up — nothing that would take you away from your main task of not running into people.

It’s a simple concept that feels powerful in practice.

The same is true for navigation. When I get out of trains in New York I am constantly jumping right into Google Maps to figure out where I’m headed. Even after more than a decade in the city, I seem to never be able to figure out which way to turn when I exit a subway station. You still have to grapple with asking for directions with Glass, but removing the barrier of being completely distracted by the device in your hand is significant, and actually receiving directions as you walk and even more significant. In the city, Glass make you feel more powerful, better equipped, and definitely less diverted.

Joshua Topolsky looking like a modern day robot.

Joshua Topolsky looking like a modern day robot.

How long do you think this effect will persist when others start wearing Google Glass?

I will admit that wearing Glass made me feel self-conscious, and maybe it’s just my paranoia acting up (or the fact that I look like a huge weirdo), but I felt people staring at me. Everyone who I made eye contact with while in Glass seemed to be just about to say “hey, what the hell is that?” and it made me uncomfortable.

Interesting observations.

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