Google Glass Explorers excited to use prototype device

Published: Wednesday, June 5 2013 12:05 p.m. MDT

Google co-founder Sergey Brin wears Google Glass glasses at an announcement for the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences at Genentech Hall on UCSF’s Mission Bay campus in San Francisco, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. The product, dubbed "Google Glass," will be offered to "bold, creative individuals" selected as part of a contest. Participants must live in the U.S. and submitted an application of up to 50 words explaining what they would do with the Google Glass technology.

Jeff Chiu, AP

The prototype wearable computer Google Glass has been turning heads. The hyped Google Glass is that much closer to home as Glass Explorers from last year’s Google I/O Conference receive the device, and as Google has contacted select applicant winners of the #ifihadglass competition.

“I was shocked to get accepted,” said Jennifer Williams, an #ifihadglass winner. Williams is an instructor at Country Day School in Largo, Fla., and plans to use Glass to enhance her teaching and learning for students. “I really thought it was a shot in the dark, but I figured I should at least try for the school and for our new students. So when I found out I was very, very excited.”

#ifihadglass applicants applied for Glass by posting a message of no more than 50 words on Twitter or Google+ with the hashtag #ifihadglass. Google opened the program to the public Feb. 20-27, saying it sought after “bold, creative individuals.” Google selected 8,000 applicants to have the option of purchasing the $1,500 device, where recipients will retrieve it in either New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. Google began notifying winners in late March, but #ifihadglass winners have not received Glass yet.

Some application winners declined the option of purchasing the prototype of Google Glass, whereas others were excited about the prospect of testing the product’s first version.

“I’m totally jazzed,” said Erik Endress, maker of Share With 911 and selected winner of #ifihadglass. “It’s very exciting to be part of the first thousands of people on the planet that are going to get to use this technology.”

Google Glass Explorers signed up for Glass at Google’s 2012 I/O Conference. Explorers are primarily developers who will create apps for Google Glass.

Wearable computing

The driving idea behind creating Google Glass is to have technology available when needed and to remove it when unnecessary, making it a wearable computing device.

“[It is meant to be] there when you need it and out of the way when you don’t,” said Google’s Timothy Jordan, senior developer advocate for Glass.

In a presentation about Google Glass to developers in Austin, Texas, Jordan explained that technology is often more intrusive than it needs to be. He used the example of going to a concert and noticing that attendees who recorded the stage saw their tablet or smartphone screen more than the actual concert.

“By bringing technology closer, we can get it more out of the way,” Jordan said.

'Powerful use' of technology

As Google begins to release the first version of the device to Glass Explorers and #ifihadglass winners in the near future, people can see how Glass can do what Jordan and other Google developers envisioned.

Students at Williams’ school are sometimes able to watch lessons over again and at their own pace, and with Glass, teachers can record lessons free of cumbersome equipment.

“We’ve tried to do this with video cameras, and it’s difficult for teachers giving a lesson to keep it personalized,” Williams said. “They want to keep the focus on the child so they can present the lesson with the freedom of their hands. I think that recording the lessons and having the interactive component with the students [will make Glass useful in the classroom].”

#ifihadglass winners look forward to using the device to express creativity and close physical distances, as well as improve effectiveness in different work industries, which they expressed in their applications.

In her application, Williams said, “If I had Glass, each day I would capture the simple moments and the monumental breakthroughs of my young students with autism.”

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