Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Problems with Glass

Glass is buggy, it's just a fact. As a beta it's prone to it's mishaps and malfunctions, but it's starting to become more and more buggy as time with version XE12. A new update is long overdue and it has been announced that version XE14 will bring KitKat to the table with many improvements. But for now, I'll list to you major bugs.

1. The built-in speaker
The speaker in Glass is quiet. It's a bone conducting speaker that will vibrate through your skull to make you hear it. It doesn't work well. It's quiet and can't be used for listening to music or making a phone call. It is good for notifications though as it's quiet enough not to be distracting. But when making a phone call I have found that after about a minute into the call, the speaker almost dies. Going muffled and then distorted. It kinda sounds like you're going through a tunnel... or in a helicopter. The speaker on glass isn't anything to write home about and if you need to rely on the built in speaker for a phone call... I'm sorry. Google does offer a solution, a mono earbud that works wonders, but it does become a hassle to wear all the time. And oddly enough, the helicopter effect still happens with the earbud... so once again, must be a software thing.

2. Voice control / recognition
    Motorola has a patent that allows your phone to only answer to your voice. You can see that on the Moto X by saying "Okay Google Now..." So why isn't Google using this? Letting others activate your Glass can become quite annoying. It doesn't happen often, but now and again you'll find the occasional person that enjoys toying with Glass. Voice control isn't the biggest problem though, it's the voice recognition that's the true enemy here. I can't tell you how many times I've had to say, "okay glass make a call to... home... home... HOME." Sometimes it doesn't even get it. Contacts on Glass are so messed up that I can't control it at all. It takes your Google+ contacts and mixes it with your Google Contacts creating the biggest mess I've ever seen. I've frankly given up on trying to initiate a text message on Glass if someone doesn't text me first. I can't figure it out for my life. Also, I have repeat contacts in there because it's a Google+ contact and a phone contact! Glass doesn't understand... I DON'T LIKE GOOGLE+ and I'm thinking of removing it from Glass all together. Aside from the occasional misunderstandings, everything else works fine. You have to talk very clearly and you have to use diction for Glass to understand you perfectly. If this doesn't get fixed... Glass is useless.

3. Lack of Apps / Google+
 Lets face it... most of the general population has no idea what side-loading an application is. Side-loading is when you have to manually install the app onto Glass using terminals and commands and computer science type things. Currently, I've been trying a bunch of side-loaded apps like Layer Virtual Reality and a version of Google Skymaps. As for instant and easy apps, I have the ususal Facebook and Twitter and Youtube. Winkfeed is great, as is Google Play Music. But that's about it. I keep about 5 apps loaded on Glass. There's nothing intuitive enough to play with. But if you have any recommendations, let me know. Lack of apps will change in the future... hopefully.

Google+ is truly something that Google wants you to use. It'll backup all your photos to Google+ and create auto-awesome movies and pictures if you take enough of them. The problem is... nobody uses Google+ as a main form of social networking. It's hard to deal with and Glass really wants you to use it as it is Googles baby. If you're not a Google-centric user, Glass is almost pointless.

4. Notifications
   Glass is the ultimate form of notification without distraction. You can check a notification hands-free without having to look down at a watch or phone. But what happens when I hear my phone buzz in my pocket and Glass does nothing? I go into my phone and look. I would either find that someone favorited a tweet of mine or it's a friend request on Facebook. Glass doesn't get notifications like that currently, which is really strange to me. I understand wanting to have only the super important updates come forwarded to Glass, but shouldn't we be allowed to choose what we consider is important enough to have beamed onto our faces? Also, I've been having a problem lately when I get a text message and tilt my head to read it, it'll flash to the message for a second and then scroll over to a picture I took beforehand or a message from a different conversation with a different person.

And finally...

5. Is this really something we all can use?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how people will use Glass. I see news articles of doctors and journalists and police officers all using Glass in their professions to better operate at their jobs or make some tasks easier. I use Glass in the field of theater, developing an application to help in the process of hanging and plotting lights on stage. We all can find endless uses for Glass. I took Glass to a restaurant for the first time and found myself taking pictures with friends and family. Celebrating birthdays, capturing moments, and experiencing things in a new and fun ways though Glass. We can all use Glass. But there are a hand full of people that are totally opposed to Glass. Either they think it's weird or ugly or creepy. I let one of my friends wear Glass as she had discovered you can wink to take pictures... and as I received Glass back, I was welcomed by 20 new pictures. Glass has its quirks and I think it'll take a while to see past them. But for now, I still love Glass in concept... as long as those past problems get fixed.

Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, leave them down below!
If you have anything you'd like to know extensively about Glass, let me know and I'll try and write a post about it.

Thanks again for reading and keep checking back for new posts!

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