A week with the Google Glass

I had the opportunity to borrow the Google Glass from my workplace last week.

Google Glass is a wearable miniature computer mounted on a frame you wear like glasses. It has a small display that you can see through on the right eye.  Glass is still in the development process and these units aren’t the final product, so some of the issues may be solved by the time the final product ships.

First impressions

The Google Glass I had borrowed was one without prescription lenses.  Since I need to wear my own glasses, it was hard for me to get the Google Glass to fit on top of my glasses in a way where I could see the full screen. The left edge was cut off so my experience with it was affected.

The screen is also quite small, so there’s not a lot of things to see on the screen.  The main menus are just a scrollable list of words.  The two ways to interact with the Glass are by voice control, and a touch pad mounted on the right side of the frame.

Walking

Vancouver City Hall, taken from Google Glass
Vancouver City Hall, taken from Google Glass

I walked around with the Google Glass for a bit.  Took some photos and videos just to give it a try.  I didn’t have that many apps on the Glass so there wasn’t really much I could do (also one should probably be concentrated on walking in any case…).

More photos and videos taken from my walk with the Glass can be found on my Google Plus album.

In the car

I wrote an email to ICBC to get the official word on the rules about wearing Google Glass while driving, and as you may have guessed, it’s prohibited. Here’s a copy of the email I got back.

Based on information from Road Safety BC, we can inform you that the use of Google Glass while driving in BC is prohibited.

There are several sections of the Motor Vehicle Act that apply:

  • The most directly applicable section is Section 214.2 that lays out “Prohibition against use of electronic device while driving”. The “Use of Electronic Devices While Driving Regulation” prescribes “television” as an electronic device subject to the prohibition. Mobile operating systems and devices with wireless telephony, e.g. Google glass, smart watch, etc., are considered to be a variant of a “television” for purposes of the Act. They are considered as such because they fit within definitions of a television, for example, according to the Oxford English dictionary, Television is a system for converting visual images (with sound) into electrical signals, transmitting them by radio or other means, and displaying them electronically on a screen.
  • Section 144 of the Motor Vehicle Act lays out the prohibition against “careless driving” which could apply if using Google Glass while driving.
  • Sections 181 and 183 of the Motor Vehicle Act also require that drivers and cyclists exercise due care and attention when driving, so failing to do so due to distraction from using Google Glass is another way a person could violate of the rules.

So due to this I wasn’t able to try out the GPS navigation.

Conclusion

It’s pretty cool wearing the Google Glass. It feels like something from a sci-fi movie. But on the practical side of things there doesn’t seem to be that much useful stuff that can be done with the Glass right now as there are only a limited number of apps.  But I’m sure as time passes there will be more and more interesting apps that will make Glass a lot more useful.

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