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We asked early adopters: Why did you buy Google Glass?

Anthony Domanico | May 7, 2014
There's got to be more to this self-selecting group than people who have US$1500 and a nose to hang an alpha product on.

Karen Pattist, a self-described "fish fixer," works to rehabilitate diseased fish or problematic koi ponds. Most people in her line of work use phones to look up information to help diagnose problems. But that's a problem itself: ""Cell phones at pond side are a bad idea," Pattist told us in explaining her interest in Glass. Since she can wear Google's device, she's hoping to keep her hands dry when she's looking up relevant data on the job.

"I'm hoping to be able to safely secure Glass and my prescription frames on my head, and then be able to look up formulas and other info while my hands are wet," she said.

They want to use it in personal ways

All work and no play would make for a pretty dull pair of smartglasses, though. And some of the new Glass owners we spoke with think that Google's device can help them in their daily lives. Vizulis, the developer hoping to create a GPS-based app, is also an avid cyclist who biked the Boston Marathon route the morning of last month's race with Glass, taking pictures and videos along the way. Peter Malek, a process improvement consultant at one of the Big Four consulting firms, plans to use connected fitness- and health-related apps as part of his active lifestyle.

Still, others had been waiting for a Glass-like product to come along for some time and jumped at Google's sale so that they could be among the early adopters. Dr. Jean Scholtz, a human-computer interaction researcher and computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, has been following the ubiquitous computing space for a long time. "I just want to play with Glass," Scholtz said. "I was an advocate of ubiquitous computing long ago and think this is a step forward."

In fact, nearly everyone we talked to wanted to use Glass in a personal way to capture the world around them. And that may be the device's greatest appeal--the ability to snap hands-free pictures and video of friends and family and document experiences while traveling. Whether that's worth $1500 is a matter of personal choice, but for these early adopters, it seems to be.

What it means for Glass

You'd expect people buying Glass at this point to skew toward developers and app makers. After all, Glass is still very much in its infancy--it's an alpha product with bugs and issues that still need ironing out before a wider release. And that impression is bared out by the number of Glass buyers we spoke with who are planning to create apps for the device.

Still, the responses we heard indicate Glass may have a broader appeal beyond just geeks and app makers. From accessing key information on the job to taking videos and pictures on the go, the Google Glass owners we talked to have found plenty of uses for their latest gadget. It's a long way from making Glass an indispensable device, but it would certainly suggest this isn't just another high-tech toy.


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