When Google started talking about the Google Glass Explorer program on Twitter, I didn’t give it too much attention. Being someone who has never had too much luck with these kinds of things, I figured there wasn’t really a point to entering – the odds seemed to be stacked against me.

Over the week that followed, I saw friends from around the world tweeting the #ifIhadGlass hashtag in a desperate attempt to get their hands on the cyborg-esque headset. Figuring I didn’t have anything to use, I threw my hat in the ring.

Fast forward about a month later, I WAS IN! One of very few ‘regular’ people in the world that would get access to Google’s Moonshot project turned reality. Of course I would still have to pony-up 1500 dollars to get in on the action, but that’s a small price to pay for a robot eye.

Radio silence followed for about 3 months while I (impatiently) waited for my turn to Glass-up. Friends and family took this opportunity to tell me how spending that much money on a piece of headwear was borderline insane and generally tried to make me regret forking out the cash. Other than a few minor panic attacks (WOULD I REALLY WEAR THIS THING!?) I kept the faith that Google would deliver something that would blow my expectations away. Thankfully they did just that, and then some.

First days with Glass

A small boat took 6 future Glass heads out to the Alameda Airfield where we walked through an abandoned Air force building and up to a rooftop that had been converted into a Google pop-up store.

After 2 hours of champagne, instructions  it was time to be set free on the world with my brand new spectacles. At this point my concerns (in order of priority) were:

  1. Will someone steal this off my head?
  2. Will every stranger ask me what its like?
  3. Will I look like an idiot?

I can confirm the glasses have not been stolen, people do ask what its like all the time (and some have some negative comments to make), and I probably do look like an idiot but it doesn’t really bother me.

You might be asking yourself, what’s the point? In my opinion, most of what makes Google Glass so amazing can be boiled down to context and immediacy. Not having to take a phone out of my pocket, unlock it and take a picture has changed the way I capture the world. If I see something, I capture it and share to my social network of choice. This means at least 10 times more pet pictures per day!

Within the work environment, Glass lets me capture pieces of information quickly, and answer questions without disrupting the flow of a brainstorm session. Rather than leaving a conversation to search for an answer to a question, I just have to ask Glass and get an immediate response – either through an image, text, website, or video. “Okay glass, google – what is the resolution of an iPad mini?”

Extreme reactions

It’s no secret that Google Glass can produce extreme reactions from people. In public I can expect about 95% of people that notice Glass to just look, 4% to give a compliment, and 1% to say or do something negative. In my experience negative reactions are usually rooted in misinformation, like people thinking it’s always recording, when it’s most definitely not. The truth is the battery would only last about 30 minutes recording video, one of the devices major limitations. Once these same people try Glass for the first time, they tend to go to the other end the spectrum and rave about how amazing and futuristic the experience is.

From my perspective, almost all negative feedback stems from the fear of the unknown. As wearable devices become more common and misconceptions are dispelled, this will start to take care of itself. Until this point, Google Glass users will have to accept that unsolicited criticism from total strangers is part of the deal.

What this means for our clients

As a strategist, wading through trends and extracting real value for our clients is essential to our creative process. Being that there are so many divergent paths that research and discovery can take, strategists have to try and absorb as much information about new technologies as possible to help properly ground their strategic instincts. For example, there probably won’t be a time in the near future I will be writing a strategy that includes Google Glass, but leveraging the learnings gathered from using the device (both technical and experiential) will lead to a richer understanding of the space as a whole.

From an agency perspective, we still have to analyze and absorb the true intent of this technology and internalize the meaning and impacts of hyper-immediacy and extreme contextual awareness. As we digest and process this new paradigm, we can start to weave these concepts into the fabric of our work, helping us push our craft forward and create more compelling experiences for our clients.

As true lovers of all things digital, our passion can be fueled and replenished by innovative technological leaps forward. Glass represents one such leap, and I cannot wait to see what we come up with for Glass, the possibilities are nearly endless.