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The new Google Glass "Bold" prescription frames in "shale" color rests on a table at the Google Glass Basecamp space at Chelsea Market, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Review: Ups and downs with Google Glass apps
First Published Apr 07 2014 08:31 am • Last Updated Jun 19 2014 05:27 pm

New York » Google Glass is like a fickle friend. Surprises await, such as the time it took a photo of my ceiling while I was making carrot and ginger soup.

I’ve been using Google’s Web-connected eyewear over the past few months. Spending a day trying to get some chores done with it was frustrating at times, though it gave me a glimpse of what might be possible down the line.

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Cooking with Glass, for example, frees my hands to stir, chop and season instead of leafing through a cookbook or getting grease on a tablet computer. Playing games on Glass by nodding my head around or shouting things was fun, once I got over the looking-crazy part. Or maybe that was part of the appeal. My favorite activity, hands down, is winking to take a photo, hands-free.

But perhaps I had mistakenly winked when I was trying to read ingredients on the Glass.

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EDITOR’S NOTE — This is the third in a series of reviews chronicling one reporter’s experience with Google Glass.

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Glass takes a lot of time to get used to. That makes sense for a new type of device, but it strikes me as unusual when I could take most gadgets out of a box and intuitively know how to use them.

The day I spent doing chores had me calling Google’s tech-support line three times and nearly breaking down in tears. On top of that, I got only two chores done.

That’s a long way from a mass-market product. Google knows this and sells these $1,500 gadgets on an invitation basis to get feedback on how they work in day-to-day living. It’s as though we’re on a long journey together with Google.


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— DOING LAUNDRY

Don’t ask me for directions. I regularly wind up in circles in my own neighborhood, and I confidently send lost tourists north when they need south. Maps on smartphones have been a godsend, but it’s annoying having to hold my iPhone in front of me when I’m trying to find an address.

Enter Glass, which sits eyebrow-level and has a tiny screen above your right eye, eliminating the need to stare down at your phone. Glass responds to voice or touch commands, and it answers back on the screen.

I had to drop off some laundry, so I asked Glass to take me to my regular laundromat less than three blocks from my apartment:

"OK, Glass, get directions to the laundromat," I said.

Glass began searching for "aundora mint," whatever that is. Let’s try this again.

"OK, Glass, get directions to the laundromat," I said.

Glass returned with nine options in my neighborhood, but it didn’t include my standby, KT Laundromat.

"OK, Glass, get directions to KT Laundromat," I said.

I got Katie’s Clean & Green Laundry in Lakewood, Ohio. At this point I started to get frustrated. Turns out that KT isn’t in Google’s maps database.

"OK, Glass, get directions to 500 Henry Street," I said, using the KT’s street address.

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

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