Well, I never thought I would be typing those words…
I’ve been keeping something from the public at large over the last few months. Earlier this year, I entered Google’s #ifihadglass contest to get a shot at owning an “Explorer Edition” of Google Glass. This edition is not available for retail sale (for all intents and purposes it’s a private beta) and you have to be chosen by Google to be able to purchase it. They planned to select 8,000 entries out of what ended up being over 100,000 entries. I didn’t expect to win based on my entry (embedded below).
I ended up being one of those 8,000 people.
— Google Glass (@googleglass) March 30, 2013
Once the initial shock wore off, I purchased the device online and waited until my pickup day. See, Google Glass is such a different paradigm in interaction that Google requires you to get “fitted” for Glass in person – you cannot ship it to your house. These fittings are only in a couple of cities and the spaces are called “Basecamps”. Since we live in Google HQ’s backyard, I knew getting somewhere local to pick these up wouldn’t be an issue. The Basecamp ended up being above Google’s San Francisco office space which I’ve been to before on a couple of occasions.
Since the pickup was in San Francisco, I invited my cousin Kate along with me. She also works in the tech space and was very intrigued by the concept of Glass. We met up outside their offices along the Embarcadero after work and headed inside. After getting lost and ending up at Google’s reception unescorted (sorry Google!), we had to call the Glass team to come find us and direct us to the correct location – a VERY cool space overlooking the Bay.
The Basecamp was located on the 6th floor and had a very open air feel to it. 4 stations had mirrors with all 5 colors of Google Glass below them. There was also an impressive spread of finger food as well as a nice selection of drinks (I obviously chose champagne). After a short wait, we met our Glass Guide and got to “work”. We sat at one of several wood table workstations in the room that had a very minimal amount of things on it. There was simply a Glass bag, a mirror, and a Chromebook Pixel*.
I sat down and noticed a two toned white and black box in front of me. The center of the lid adorned the word “Glass” in a cool font, while “XE” was on the side facing me. I popped the top of the box off, pulled back a sheet of translucent paper covering the Glass (it’s like unwrapping a present), and my Charcoal set of Glass laid in front of me.
After that, it was kind of a blur. Using the Pixel to login into my Gmail account, I set up all the services I wanted to send to my Glass. This is also the part of the process where I logged in with my various Social Media ID’s. Glass was also “fitted” to my face (a slightly poor term as all that happened was tweaking the nosebridge in my case). We then headed outside to take a couple of pictures while practicing the voice commands and got a tutorial on how to attach the “shields” (which are basically sunglasses or clear visors- depending on the need). I’ve actually found that the sunglass option is very compelling outside!
Once we were done, I put all my stuff in the neat little Glass bag and headed home to the train. Surprisingly (to me), very few people noticed my new device. Not one person asked me about it on the ride home, either. I plan to keep everyone updated on that, and other parts of Glass, as I start using them more day to day for various activities.
In my next post, I plan to dive into the hardware and general thoughts after using them for a weekend.
*As a total aside- I was totally geeking out over this. I’ve never seen one of these in the wild, so getting to play with one in the wild was a treat. It’s an impressive machine that is frankly drool worthy.