Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 1 with Google Glass

Two days ago I was selected to participate in the Glass Explorer Program, a program to beta-test Google's new eyewear computer system, something I requested to be a part of nearly a year ago.  Initially I had no thought of how I would come up with the $1,500 to pay Google for the amazing device, as the probability of being one of 8,000 people worldwide to be selected was seemingly slim to none.  Still, as the term "Google Glass" had all but been lost from my memory, Google came knocking at my door.

The news came via the World Wide Web of course; Google e-mailed me with the great news.  The e-mail was short but sweet, and a code to purchase the device was included.  For the first time since hearing about Glass, I was finally forced to think about what that $1,500 price tag really meant to me, and more importantly, if I could possibly come up with it.

Ironically, the first thing I did was go to Google.  I "Googled" what Glass was going for their online marketplace, otherwise known as "Google Shopping" or the "Shopping" option next to the other options like "Web," "Images," and "Maps" on  Sure enough, there are tons of Glass offers out there, mostly on eBay, Amazon, and similar sites.  Even codes like the one I was sent were being sold on these sites; I might mention, the codes alone were going for some $300 on Amazon and Glass itself was being resold by Explorers for some $2,800!  I thought for a minute about both of these options.  I thought maybe I should buy Glass, test it, then resell it once I have reviewed it and waited for the pricing to cool down with its public release.  Maybe, instead, I should just sell the code on eBay or Amazon and cut my losses.  Alas, this broke my heart so I did absolutely nothing on the first day but think about how badly I wanted the device.

Yesterday morning I told my boss about Glass and what had transpired in order to have been selected to the Glass Explorer Program.  Soon after that I told a few more people and the conversation really begun.  I started setting up a Kickstarter page, hoping that a few friends and family members might chip in if I could come up with a good review or good project to do with Glass.  As I begun the lengthy Kickstarter sign-up process I started to think that maybe this project wasn't the sort of thing I could get funded.  Just as my hopes were dashed, the phone began to ring.

Not only had my boss been intrigued about the new device, his boss and a few colleagues had been intrigued as well.  Soon enough, I was given the green light to purchase Glass on behalf of our university for the purpose of educating students on the new technology and using it for virtual field trips and creating some marketing content on the world wide web.  By the afternoon I was given a credit card to purchase the device with and less than five minutes later, Glass was purchased.

My boss and I joked about how Glass might arrive.  Maybe it would come like Hedwig, the owl from Harry Potter, and fly up to our window and tap on the glass.  Maybe, instead, it would just teleport here or pop out of my printer, it is a Google product after all.  Though we joked, neither of us thought it would actually arrive only 12 hours later by mail.  This morning I arrived to work and it was already here.  Somehow Google managed to get the device here, out of whatever warehouse it was in, all the way from Kentucky, in exactly the color I ordered, all in a blink of an eye. 


I was like a kid on Christmas morning; I wanted nothing more but to rip open the package and try out the new toy!  Instead, I had to muster up some patience.  We wanted to wait for our videographer to film the entire thing: the opening of the box, the parts, everything.  The idea is to create some sort of documentary-type film or perhaps a promotional piece that highlights Glass' implications in Higher Education.


After the videographer arrived, I opened the box with shear pleasure.  Inside were only a couple of things: an earbud for the headset, a USB charger that also plugs into a the wall, and a bag to protect Glass.  There was no manual, just a couple questions written on a piece of folded up paper.  

One such questions read:

Q  Can I use Glass while operating a jackhammer?
A  Use caution.

Thank you Google, how profound!


The set-up should have been easy enough, but the fact that I have an iPhone (not a Google Android phone), not to mention I'm located in a building full of wifi interference, made setting up Glass a nightmare.  It was quite evident that though Google's staff is probably the nicest customer-service staff out there, there are still a lot of unknowns with the product.  I ended up going through three different Googlers, none of which could pinpoint the problem, but I figured it out in the end.  I had to reboot Glass a few times, "forget" every wifi network on my phone, sync with Bluetooth and even "forget" that as well at one point, make sure my personal hot spot was on and working, all before being able to get Glass up and running.  In the end, it was worth it!

A couple of professors asked if they could try Glass on and it was truly priceless watching their faces as they Googled "Bacon Dog Video," the Google term to find this Youtube Video:


I wished I had captured the look of amazement on their faces on video... but I will leave that for tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.

Follow me on Twitter @AmandaMunsch

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Google Glass Explorer Program: Just the Beginning

In July of 2013, I wrote my first blog post.  The topic, "wearable technology," was something I had been reading about, but it was fairly new to me and, in fact, it was more or less a new concept to the world at large.  In my post I stated that I had both a fear that this new technology would consume us, yet a desire to embrace it nonetheless.  Still, that new adoption of technology seemed a long way off and, at best, would be delivered in the form of a smart-watch or something similar, a small step up from the smart-phones already seemingly glued to our hands.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed that less than a year later, I would be selected to participate in the Google Glass Explorer Program.

Yesterday, I received the e-mail I had long forgotten I could receive: the e-mail indicated exactly that.  I was selected for the Glass Explorer Program, and now several dollars later, I have begun to create a project to explore Glass both in its practical application in every day life, but also, for its implications for Higher Education.

I hope you will continue to follow me as I explore Google Glass in the coming months.  

Thanks for reading.

Follow me on Twitter @AmandaMunsch