As you can see from the major geekout face, I finally got a go on Google Glass! And how did that make me feel? Mixed. If you’re not au fait with Google Glass, here’s the deal. You position the headset so that the tiny screen/camera sits above your right eye. It’s not actually ‘glasses’, it’s like a lightweight glasses-frame with the technology stored in one of the arms. When you tap the right arm, the screen wakes up and shows a number of command prompts. For example: ‘Ok Glass, take a picture.” It carries out the command and shows you the result for a few seconds (e.g taking a picture, or showing a Google search). To see it again, you have to tap or swipe your Glass which will give you further prompts.
Google wants the device to help you be more present and engaged, while also being useful. So it won’t stay continuously on (driving and Google Glass-ing won’t be possible. Yet.). But I can’t help feeling that having your ‘phone’ more present that ever will turn people into Google-controlled distracted zombies. And we already have enough of that, right? (Update: a music streaming and searching feature has just been added.)
The Google Glass demo took place at an event last week in London. Called the Google House (don’t miss the G-shaped knocker, above), it was in a Bloomsbury location decked out in Google colours and functions to show off some of the latest Google trickery. Google Voice Search was the big new function that Google hopes we’ll all start to rely on. In the latest Google Voice Search app, now available for IOS (I don’t speak tech but I believe that means it now works on iPhone), you can ask Google to remind you to buy lemons next time you’re in Tesco, or for restaurant recommendations in your area. You don’t have to type in your search request, just tap the microphone button and speak to Google. With your geo-location enabled, Google knows and remembers everywhere you go and prompts you accordingly. Brilliant, but slightly creepy, no?
It is useful but perhaps too easy to rely on. I’m not sure it’s a good thing to stop using our heads for things like remembering to buy milk. I like the general concept of Google Voice Search (even though I find Google far from intuitive) but I’d rather keep using my brain. Of course, I reserve the right to completely change my mind once Google’s brainwashing technology has taken full effect…
In this room we learnt all about the real-time, personalised travel info that Google’s app can deliver (I also recommend the non-Google Citymapper app for finding your way around town in a hurry)…
The guys from Sorted Food demonstrated how the Google Voice app could act as a hands-free helper in the kitchen
We also got an update on how girls are using Google Hangouts to do communal haul videos. Who knew?