Google Glass review

Explorer Edition has ceased production, but its legacy lives on

Google Glass review
Google Glass review

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Google Glass is more fun than functional primarily because of the reaction derived from donning a wearable computer in public. Onlookers' curious and questioners' amazement always turns into a flood of ways they think Glass can be used in the future. Becoming an Explorer within the first year, I have had to constantly answer questions, but that's part of the fun. Explaining gadgets to people is why I became a technology journalist in the first place.

Disneyland Google Glass

Getting more attention than Mickey Mouse at Disneyland

Peoples' fascination certainly kept me occupied in lines at Disneyland, where they wanted to know more about Google Glass, take a photo, wear it themselves and take another photo. Only a handful of people knew a little bit about it, often mistakenly saying, "There's those Google Glasses!" even though there's only one glass involved. A majority of the people had no idea, timidly asking "Can I ask you about the glass on your face?"

I was able to test if Google Glass is waterproof, or at least water resistant, at Disneyland's log flume ride, Splash Mountain. It survived my drenched-in-water decision to sit in the front row, though I wisely slipped it into the micro-fiber case to dry it off immediately after the final hill. Google doesn't recommend letting liquids near the internal components, especially the battery, though Robert Scoble has proven that it can be worn in the shower without incident.

Google Glass on Wil O'Neal

Note to self: delete others' search history

The reaction at CES 2014 was a little more muted considering all of the extravagant technology at the week-long Las Vegas conference. But I still had to field questions and tell people, no, they couldn't pick it up in the South Hall. It's still beta-only, but should be out later this year.

Not-so-fun reactions

Peoples' trepidation of Google Glass can sometimes sap some of the fun out wearing it or create wearable gadget faux pas that didn't exist before, as it did twice as CES. Its so lightweight that I often times forgot I was wearing it, including an exceptionally awkward moment when I entered a public bathroom. I wondered why I was receiving bizarre stares up until I went to wash my hands and looked in the mirror.

Google Glass banned

Remember to take off Google Glass before going into a bathroom

Public bathrooms are not Glass friendly for obvious reasons, and that's where putting it away in the case and the case inside a bag becomes cumbersome.

The second incident occurred at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where I was walking on the outskirts of the casino strictly because I was making my way back to my hotel after a long day at CES. Moving rather quickly - not stopping - with a group of fellow tech journalists, I was approached by a panicked security guard who shouted "Sir! Sir! No Google Glass in the casino."

I took off Google Glass without protest, but found it strange considering I had a giant Canon T3i DSLR that can shoot 1080p video hanging from my neck and sitting at chest level. It didn't matter to him that I had it pointed at the casino the entire time or that most everyone I was walking with had similar recording tech on them.

Google Glass while driving

It's a distraction. Luckily, we only hit a recycling bin

Wearing Google Glass while driving has been the subject of court cases, and even when it's not on, the new technology is still in murky legal territory. People have reportedly gotten kicked out, banned or harassed for wearing it. The only way to overcome peoples' Google Glass fear is through wider adoption. Remember when cell phones with cameras were routinely banned at concerts venues?

Matt Swider