Google Glass Arrives To Seattle Direct Counseling
Glass Office and Wearable Tech
I finally picked up my Google Glass Explorer’s Edition of the wearable technology that has captured the media buzz of the year. I will flat out tell you that I am excited. And I’m a little scared. Fear of change, anger about the perceived loss of privacy, and the “weirdness” factor of the appearance of Glass has sparked an army of bloggers and journalists fighting to tell you what they think Glass will be, what they believe Glass will do, and how Glass will or won’t be a game changer in the way we communicate and share information. That’s a lot of swirl!
Yet, like that poster meme comparing what people think it is as opposed to what it really is, I’m sharing with you a glimpse into what Google Glass is for the average consumer, and how I would like to use this amazing piece of hardware to create a Glass Office.
Before you can tell whether you like Glass or you don’t, you need to understand it is and what it isn’t. Glass is piece of hardware that consists of a HUD (heads up display), an transparent overlay that is best viewed by looking up just above your natural line of sight. You can actually see through it; no problem with walking around, riding your bicycle, or driving with it on (although it may get banned in some states as a distraction to driving). The display turns on when the battery is charged, and it is able to sync with your mobile device through a WiFi connection. A mobile hotspot allows you to take your Glass on-the-go with you anywhere you can generate connectivity.
So far, so good: you have the capacity of a smartphone right in front of your eyes. Using voice commands and a simple swiping motion on the trackpad located on the right leg of Glass, you have access to many of the functions of a mobile phone, including:
+ making phone calls
+ making video calls
+ checking and responding to emails
+posting to Facebook, Twitter, and G+
+local weather, traffic updates, and notifications
+take a photo or video, and post these instantly
One of the first places I and my Seattle-based #GlassBuddy Jeris JC Miller went to test our Google Glasses was the Seattle Public Library. Known for its unusual architecture and Spiral designed by Koolhaus, I also knew this building is one of the most wired public structures in my city. Once inside, we connected with the public WiFi and set off to look at some of favorite spots within the library. You can find our excursion on G+ under the Seattle Glass Explorers community.
In the picture above, we checked out a piano room and music books from the library. Imagine if Glass can scroll music, lyrics, and scripts just like a teleprompter. No need for music books — just upload them digitally and scroll! Wouldn’t this change the way you do karaoke? How about read a speech or make a presentation?
If the Emergency Room has a version of Glass that could include a fluid shield and a thin plastic baggie cover, imagine being able to check vital signs, medications, standing orders, and other important information nurses and doctors could use to share information, hands free.
At home, let’s consider cooking. Need a recipe for the best hummus and pita ever? No problem! Scroll for Google Search, say, “OK Glass, best hummus and pita recipe”. It pulls up a few choices, you select the one you want, and now you’re reading it. Go to the grocery store, purchase the ingredients. Bring it home, and read the step-by-step instructions. Film the process if you like, all hands free, and send it to a friend.
Well, that’s all fine and good for some fun and clever ideas. But what about the office?
Because Glass is in Beta testing (and in some ways, really still in Alpha), there are a limited number of applications available that I can sync Glass with at this time. All that will change, as more and more developers have received their editions of Glass, and the Glass Explorer community gives feedback to help developers create awesome apps before the launch of Glass to the public.
But what I can do today still blows my mind. While I’m on the way to work, I can check my emails for last minute changes from my clients, host a quick phone call, respond in brief to urgent requests, and still enjoy my commute (don’t worry, I take public transportation, and it’s all safe). I can see if there is a new traffic jam and alert a client that I’ll be running a little late. I can see if there is a game in the nearby stadiums that might make parking sticky, and post a message to Facebook to let the community know where to go for the day or how to access the neighborhood with less stress. These are all things you could do with a smartphone, but then you are texting; you’re not hands free.
What I can’t yet do easily is check my schedule; we need a different kind of access to an eCalendar that would make this easier to read. [Note: update! Now I can see the day’s calendar, but I can’t scroll ahead to the next day or the entire week/month. At least I can see what’s coming up next on my Google calendar]. Glass also doesn’t pause when you pause; when recording your text caption to add anything to a photo or video when posting, any pauses are construed as the end of your text, and it is shared “as is”. Translation: you’ll have to think fast, and talk faster!
What’s Behind My Cheshire Cat Smile And My Unrelenting Entrepreneurship
At the end of the project, I will find out if Glass can really do some incredible things that are easier, more efficient, or more “natural” to the way humans communicate and share information, or I’ll conclude that Glass, while interesting, is nothing more than a fancy but unnecessary tech toy. What’s behind my Cheshire Cat smile is the confidence to set up and run my experiment: a Glass Office centered on mental health and well-being.
I’m not surprised that I would decide to plunk down $1500 (plus tax) and the cost of a plane ticket and ground transportation to get Glass before the consumer units are available. My mother was a businesswoman and my father was a computer science professor. The combination of their influence gave me an unrelenting spirit towards innovation and entrepreneurship, along with a mind that likes to dream about things that are not yet, and the paths to make them real.
While I have friends who have voiced their opinions about Glass being “weird”, and others blatantly declaring, “I wouldn’t wear them!” I remain undeterred from running my experiment. Ultimately, I want to prove that Glass can be used in a less obtrusive way than standard recording equipment in the capturing of people experiencing deep-rooted conflict and strong negative emotions.
Will Glass Kill Privacy For Good?
A tricky feature of Glass is how sensitive it is to functions such as waking the display by using a head tilt motion. It is conceivable that just by looking up at a tall person, I can turn on the home screen! If I followed that by accidentally touching the camera button on the right leg (an alternative to the voice command, “OK Glass, take a picture”), I could take a picture of someone. If I then followed that action by hitting “Share” when that option came up on the screen, I could inadvertently share a photo I didn’t mean to. However, I think you get the picture — it’s not that easy to do. You have to be a little bit more intentional.
Additionally, you can set all your photos taken by Glass to “private”, and make sure that they only get backed up to the server. From there, you could create a little fold for your photos, preventing anything from going “out there” to the Internets without your secondary okey dokey. It’s one of the reasons why I feel safe with bringing my GlassBaby into my office, where I take privacy and confidentiality seriously. In any case, while clients are in session with me, my Glass is usually on top of my head or sitting on the desk facing a wall.
If you are standing or sitting in front of me while I am wearing Google Glass, I can never take your picture or video you without you knowing. How? Because the display light can be seen the viewer, and it’s quite obvious. For the curious who have approached me this first week while I’ve been wearing it in public, I show them how they can see when the light is on, and then they understand.
The motto I keep repeating is one I have borrowed from Jeris. The technology is neutral: it is neither morally good nor bad. How users are educated to use them, and how users choose to integrate them into their lives and choices is when we start talking about when good and bad things happen in the hands of users. Nuclear power can be harnessed for energy, and it can be used to destroy whole cities. Radiation can help us see images of diseased body parts; it can also kill healthy human cells.
We once thought smartphones would make every anti-social and ruin privacy; now the shift is pointed towards wearable technology. What we’re learning is that people adapt to new technology. Only some adapt for the better, and others adapt for the worse.
As I consider how to integrate Glass into my office, the hope is that I make my work easier and more efficient so that I’m spending more time and energy doing what I love: working with people to help improve their mental wellness and relationships. The tools fade into the background. I’m counting on that sense of unobtrusiveness as I work on my next project involving Glass and negative emotions. And I’m hoping that Glass in my office is just the beginning of my journey into field of emotional intelligence. I hope you’ll come back here and check on my Page on the blog “Google Glass” from time to time as I develop this project.
Again, let me put the question to you before Glass becomes available. If you had Glass, what would you do with it?