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Exploring Google Glass through eyes of early users


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Levy, 39, rarely wears his Glass around his hometown of Boulder, Colo., because he doesn’t want to stand out from the crowd. Just two days after Levy picked up the device in New York, he recalls seeing someone else wearing the device at the airport. "My initial reaction was, ‘What a jerk,’" Levy said. "There was a little bit of ostentatiousness about it, as if he were flaunting it. I am a low-key guy who doesn’t like a lot of attention. I have an iPhone that does a lot of things that I might otherwise make Glass do if I didn’t want to make a spectacle of it."

Glass has impressed Levy while wearing it for his main purpose of taking pictures and video of some of the trails charted by Protrails.com, an online hiking site he co-owns. His objective is to share more of the Continental Divide with schoolchildren in hopes it will inspire them to do more outdoor exploration and less sitting at home.

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"I was wondering if Glass would feel like a burden or part of my hiking equipment. It actually feels pretty cool," Levy said. "They are totally fine on my head and don’t block any of my view. When you see something interesting, you can immediately have a camera on it. I really enjoy being able to capture those images."

Glass’ ability to take hands-free pictures and video has raised concerns among privacy watchdogs who believe the device will make it easier to secretly record the activities of other people. But Levy is convinced that what Glass can do isn’t much different than what many people already do with their smartphones. To prove his point, Levy used his iPhone to record a conversation he was having with a friend who was railing against the privacy risks posed by Glass.

"I recognize that Glass can make people uncomfortable, but I have to say the privacy issues are a specious concern," Levy said. "If I have a phone in a restaurant, I can get a picture of just about anybody I want with it. So what’s the difference between a phone and Glass?"

Lee regularly has Glass with her when Maddie is around other babies and said she hasn’t heard any privacy objections from other parents. That could be because she has been careful about following the social cues around her. If she sees other parents snapping pictures of their babies with their phones, Levy has donned her Glass. If no one else is taking pictures or video, though, she leaves Glass in her bag.

Some analysts question whether Glass will have mass appeal once it hits the market. Skeptics who have seen the early participants walking around wearing Glass believe the device will eventually be remembered as a geeky curiosity that never lived up to its hype, similar to the Segway, the two-wheeled, self-balancing scooters that remain an anomaly more than a decade after they first went on sale.

Angela McIntyre, a research director for Gartner Inc., believes the retail price for Glass will have to plummet to $200 to make a significant dent. Early testers had to pay $1,500 for the device, though Google hopes to bring that price down by the time of its mass-market release next year.

Even then, McIntyre believes smartwatches, another type of Internet-connected device starting to appear on the market, will win a bigger following than Glass. "Most people are just more used to putting technology on their wrist," she said. "It’s less intrusive and obtrusive to wear a watch that can serve as a second screen to your smartphone."

In a recent report on wearable computing, Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps predicted Glass will appeal largely to "young, socially connected tech optimists" and professionals, such as surgeons, construction managers and even farmers, who could use the device as part of their jobs. She defines tech optimists as people "who see technology playing a positive role in their lives."


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Hill figures it’s still way too early to envision all the different ways that Glass will be used.

"We are guinea pigs using the Model Ts of a new age in computing," she said. "They don’t have heated seats or radios or all the amenities that they will eventually, and we are still learning how to drive them."

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AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke recently wrote about his own experience with Google Glass.

Read it here:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/review-first-peek-through-google-glass-impresses



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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