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Why I'm sending back Google Glass

Matt Lake | May 22, 2014
Now that Glass is available to anyone with $1,500 to burn, you might be tempted to buy a pair. Our tester shares 10 good reasons not to.

4. Bulk

On the plus side: It's a wearable computer that fits along one arm of a pair of glasses.

On the other hand: It's still too big and bulky.

It's hard to cram Glass into a pocket or purse. Credit: Julia Lake.

Even if you've got a big nose, big hair or a big face, Google Glass still sticks out. And even if you can pull a Jackie O. and look fabulous in enormous goggles, you'll want to fold them up to pop in a purse sometimes.

You can't. Google Glass is a large curved metal arc that's too big to fit anywhere on the frequent occasions you don't want to be seen wearing it. The enormous felt pouch that Google provides does not fit in any jacket pocket and dominates any purse.

5. Conspicuousness

On the plus side: Glass provides a variety of spectacle frame designs and clip-on sunglasses frames.

On the other hand: They do nothing to hide the fact you're wearing Google Glass.

Clip-on shades don't make Glass any less noticeable.Credit: Julia Lake.

People fear surveillance. Even if they don't make racist comments in private, they don't want a recording device waved in front of them. And that's how many people see Google Glass. People avoid talking to you when you wear them.

Big Brother phobia makes Glass wearers targets of derision — or actual crime. Wearing Glass makes you self-conscious enough without adding Mean Girls-style social snubs into the mix. No amount of frames or shades conceals the glowing prism at the front that brands you a Glass-exploring neo-cyborg.

6. Tilted photos

On the plus side: Google Glass takes clear 1920-x-1080-pixel pictures and video and backs them up to your Google+ cloud.

On the minus side: They're always at an angle.

If your ears aren't perfectly level, Glass takes crooked pictures. Credit: Matt Lake.

No matter how level everything looked to me, many photos and videos I took with Glass were at a tilt.

An optometrist and portrait photographer showed me why: One of my ears is higher than the other, so Glass rests at a tilt at all times. Lots of folks are the same way. Opticians can adjust regular glasses to compensate, but Google Glass isn't made that way.

7. Directions drawbacks

On the plus side: It can provide turn-by-turn directions using Google Maps.

On the other hand: It can't do GPS without using your phone's cellular data or a mobile hotspot.

Glass can provide turn-by-turn driving directions, but it uses your phone's data service. Credit: Matt Lake.

The only culturally sanctioned time to swivel your eyes around in company — when driving — seemed like a great opportunity to use Glass for visual directions. But it requires a phone that shares its data connection — not something I had set up before my Glass Explorer experiment, and not something that's cheap if you go over your monthly limit.

 

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