Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gazing at Google Glass

That first impression screams "sleek, geek hardware"—the titanium band that wearers have to get used to hovering at their eyebrows and others will to get used to seeing on people.

I was initiated into the Glass Explorers program in Los Angeles, several hours away and decades beyond San Antonio on the tech implementers scale. I was glad to have a long a day in Los Angeles wearing Glass and adjusting to the stares and comments so I could practice how to respond back home. Based on what could hardly be called conclusive experience, these are the reactions I got during my first 24 hours with Glass.

Vicarious fan

The security guard at the hotel where I stayed immediately engaged in conversation. Clearly, he knew what he was seeing and had opinions already.
"Is that Google Glass?"
"Yes. You know about it?!"
"I think you look like a cyborg. That's really cool."
"Some people might say it's too geeky. I'm glad you think it's cool."
"We have to keep up with what’s in the future. Before long we'll have chips implanted it us."
At that point, the receptionist at the hotel desk out gave him a most curious look. They carried on a conversation about how dogs already get chips, as I slipped away.

Elbow nudger

It's one thing to spot Google Glass in the wild and go forward silently. It's apparently another to want to whisper to someone else so you can share your sighting. At a trendy vegetarian restaurant, servers carried on one-to-one conversations with me without calling attention to the slate gadget under my bangs. I talked with the women at the next table who came with their dogs. Dogs are always a conversation starter and apparently more interesting than my Google Glass.

Yet, a couple of tables over, I could see several people nudging each other and whispering as they looked at me. 

At the airport gate area as I was leaving California, one woman stared just a little longer than normal. Next, she turned her back to say something privately to the man with her. Then he stared. Were they thinking, "What on earth is that?" Or were they saying, "Can you believe that ol' lady has Glass?"


I must have walked toward a thousand people along the sidewalk or in the airport. It's amazing how few make eye contact at all. Those who did either didn't notice anything on my face or didn't care. I have to say, though, that in any other circumstance I wouldn't be trying to make eye contact with everyone I walked past either. Those people who do notice sometimes acknowledged it: "Like your Glass!" Maybe they want to make the point that they know what it is. 

Maybe they work for Google.

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