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Busting the 7 worst myths about Google Glass

Armando Rodriguez | May 30, 2013
We've using Glass for two weeks, and are ready to separate fact from fiction.

Most people's knowledge of Google Glass has been informed by a comedy skit, and that's a dangerous situation. Sure, Fred Armisen's SNL portrayal of Glass is hilarious, but it's also full of gross inaccuracies that paint the headset as half-baked technology for nerds and porn addicts.

Indeed, Glass has become the new Segway, and the people criticizing it most are those who've never used it, let alone seen it in person.

It's time to address all of the myths surrounding the headset and rescue it from the depths of sketch comedy hell. Glass is definitely an interesting piece of technology—one that developers are right to be excited about—and it would be a shame if the device's reputation were based entirely on silly rumors and the embarrasing shower stunts of Robert Scoble.

Myth: Google Glass is a final product
The Glass you see today is not the Glass you'll be able to buy when the device eventually goes on sale to consumers. The Explorer edition of Glass—the one you're likely to see most people wearing today—is officially in "prototype" stage, according to Google, and I would characterize it as an alpha-stage product at best. Currently, Glass doesn't work with conventional eyeglasses, and it suffers from extremely poor battery life. But both of those problems should be addressed by the time the technology goes retail.

Though Glass runs Android, the hardware employs a custom UI overlay designed specifically for the device. The overlay is pretty slick, but it lacks basic capabilities. For example, you can't adjust the volume of the bone-conduction audio that gets transmitted to your ears. Nor can you define the duration of the screen timeout. And other features, like voice recognition, seem to work only about half the time—leading you to sound like a maniac repeating the same phrase until the headset registers the command.

At its most basic level, Glass represents a marriage of simple hardware to a small collection of rudimentary APIs. You can read email, texts, and tweets. You can use Glass to obtain turn-by-turn directions home. You can even take photos and videos and share them to your social networks of choice without having to pull out your smartphone. But what Glass won't let you do reveals more about the device. You can't adjust basic settings. You can't view full webpages. You can't control which Google Now cards show up in your timeline. You can run Android apps, but most of them don't fare well on the touchscreenless device. Glass is one of the most locked-down Android devices Google has ever made, and it will be interesting to see how this approach affects the platform in the long run.

 

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