Google Glass is one of the most talked about gadgets in wearable technology and we've spent some time with what Google thinks is the future.
Before I start, this is by no means a review of Google Glass. The device is very much a work-in-progress and something the Google Glass team are constantly tweaking and refining. The final product which you will be able to buy will probably look and feel very different to the, what I might as well call a prototype, I saw today.
I wasn't surprised to find that, at first, wearing Google Glass is a strange and slightly disorientating experience. Especially as, at first, I had to take my regular glasses off to try it out. Google will eventually offer a model with prescription lenses built-in but I also managed to successfully wear Google Glass over the top of my normal specs (see below).
The heads up display sits above your eye-line rather than in front of it, so you glance up to see what's being shown. It's a completely new experience, far removed from the monitor sat on my desk or the phone in my pocket. See also: Google Glasses All Hype or Reality?
Having a display tucked just above your right eye is bizarre yet undeniably cool. However, I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing Google Glass out and about, not yet anyway – partly from fear of getting mugged. After a few minutes of wearing Google Glass I got used to the feel of the device and I was told it will feel perfectly normal after a couple of weeks. Again, the final product will probably be lighter and less obvious.
There's a bit of a steep learning curve when trying Google Glass for the first time. There are multiple ways of doing things – pushing buttons, swiping the touch sensitive section or using voice commands.
A quick tap of the side or saying "Ok Glass" will get you the main menu with a list of possible commands – you can scroll up and down by tilting your head which is cool. Google Glass gets its data via a Bluetooth connection with your smartphone (not just Android), and at the moment, the battery will last a day of normal use.
You can ask Google questions, get turn by turn navigations, send and receive text messages and emails or have a video call. You can also take photos or video (up to 10 seconds) with the built-in 5 Mp camera. See also: Google Glass specs revealed along with Android app.
It's about carrying out micro-actions, like quickly replying to a message, rather than using it for bigger, lengthier tasks. You can browse websites aside from the coolness factor, there's really no point on the small screen.
Google Glass reads you results etc via the bone conduction transducer. This essentially allows you to hear via vibrations and means you don't have to have an earphone in your ear. I found it difficult to hear but I was in a noisy room.
In generally, I love the idea of Google Glass. It's rare to spend some time with a device which truly feels like it's from the future. Being able to do all sorts of tasks hands-free and instantly is hugely appealing.
It's the self-conscious feeling of wearing it that's a barrier and will be for anyone who isn't very extrovert – until Google Glass and similar devices are the norm, of course. As it stands, you've got to be locked into Google's range of services. You simply can't use the device if you don't sign in with a Gmail account, although this could change in the future.
Although Google Glass can only do a handful of things at the moment, it's got so much potential that I can't wait to see what developers come up with in the future. Whether people will buy it and use it every day remains to be seen. Watch this space.