September 1, 2013

Pros and cons of Google Glass

The favorite feature of three early users: The ability to shoot photos and video without using your hands.

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE The Associated Press

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Sarah Hill, a Google Glass contest winner, tries out the device. “This is like having the Internet in your eye socket,” Hill said. “But it’s less intrusive than I thought it would be. I can totally see how this would still let you still be in the moment with the people around you.”

Photos by The Associated Press

Michael Liedtke
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Reporter Michael Liedtke models Google Glass at a Google base camp in San Francisco.

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"That's when it hit me that, 'Holy cow, I don't have to cut the call off,'" Hill recalled. "I could continue talking because I didn't have to hold a phone. So I carried on a conversation through the airport and people were staring at me like, 'What is that thing on your face?'"

Hill became accustomed to the double takes and quizzical looks as she wore Glass to community gatherings, restaurants and shopping excursions. The encounters usually led to her offering others to try on Glass, and most were impressed with their glimpses at the technology, Hill said.

"When you have these glasses on, it's like it helps you see the future," Hill said. "It helps you see what's possible."

Hill, a former anchor and reporter for KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo., believes Glass is destined to transform broadcast journalism by empowering reporters to capture compelling images at scenes without the need for cumbersome equipment. She likens it to having a satellite TV truck that weighs 1.5 ounces. Glass also would make it easier for reporters to field questions from viewers through the Twitter app or through direct texts.

Hill has already used Glass to provide a tour of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., for veterans gathered in St. Louis by Veterans United, where Hill now works as the group's chief storyteller. The veterans were too old or ill to make the journey themselves, so Hill gave them a close-up look through a video feed transmitted through Glass in June.

Lee, a New York City resident, has been relying on Glass mostly to capture precious moments with her 9-month-old daughter, Maddie. Her favorite moment came when she photographed some of her daughter's first giggles a couple months ago. Lee, 34, told Glass to take the pictures as she as tickled and kissed her daughter's tummy.

"Obviously, you can't do that with a phone in your hand, so I am totally loving Glass," Lee said. "It has really been great."

Glass also allowed Lee to set up live video sessions with her parents in Oregon so they could see Maddie eat her first solid food just as she saw it. She also took pictures of her raising Maddie airborne that wouldn't have been feasible with a camera requiring hands-on operation. "I am capturing all these tiny moments that are really exciting with a baby," Lee said.

Unlike Hill's experience in Missouri, hardly anyone in New York gives her a second look when she wears Glass in Central Park or around her neighborhood.

"I thought more people would stop me in the street or something like that, but that hasn't really happened," Lee said.

Levy, 39, rarely wears his Glass around his hometown of Boulder, Colo., because he doesn't want to stand out from the crowd. Just two days after Levy picked up the device in New York, he recalls seeing someone else wearing the device at the airport. "My initial reaction was, 'What a jerk,'" Levy said. "There was a little bit of ostentatiousness about it, as if he were flaunting it. I am a low-key guy who doesn't like a lot of attention. I have an iPhone that does a lot of things that I might otherwise make Glass do if I didn't want to make a spectacle of it."

Glass has impressed Levy while wearing it for his main purpose of taking pictures and video of some of the trails charted by Protrails.com, an hiking site he co-owns. His objective is to share more of the Continental Divide with schoolchildren in hopes it will inspire them to do more outdoor exploration.

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Additional Photos

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Google Glass offers video recording, photo and Internet capabilities while worn like a pair of glasses.

  


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