Greensburg man among first Google Glass 'explorers'
By Alex Nixon
Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Jaron Swab says Google Glass, the futuristic eyeglasses-like device that Internet search giant Google Inc. plans to begin selling later this year, should make mobile technology less intrusive and easier to use.
Swab, of Greensburg, is one of the first people in Western Pennsylvania to test Glass, for which he paid the Mountain View, Calif.-based company $1,500. He drove to New York to pick up the device two weeks ago.
“The issue has been that technology gets in the way,” Swab said, referring to smartphones, which must be held in your hand to operate. “Now we're trying to get technology out of the way.”
Glass, which Swab said has the potential to supplant smartphones, performs a surprising range of functions. By either tapping a touch pad on the side of the device's frame or with voice commands, a Glass user can send and receive emails, texts and calls, shoot video and photos, perform Internet searches, navigate with Google Maps and complete other functions.
Google is encouraging its 10,000 “Explorers” — the software developers and enthusiasts who Google selected to test Glass — to create apps for the device, which it calls “Glassware.”
Swab, 24, was one of 8,000 people selected through Twitter to receive Glass. About 2,000 software developers who attended Google's annual conference last year were given the chance to buy the device.
About two dozen people in Western Pennsylvania were selected through Twitter to receive Google Glass, according to a map of Explorers produced by Stanford University.
Swab showed up to a meeting with a reporter on Tuesday wearing Glass with a sunglasses lens snapped into the frame, which made it look less bizarre.
You don't need a lens to operate Glass. The screen is viewed on a sugarcube-sized piece of glass that's at the short end of a hockey-stick-shaped piece of black plastic attached to a thin metal frame that wraps around the user's face, just above the eyes.
Swab said he wore Glass to a Pirates game the day after picking it up and got a lot of strange looks.
“Everyone was staring at me,” he said.
Swab, who is chronicling his experience with Glass at jrswab.com, said he finds Glass intuitive to use, and it has decent battery life — about five hours of continuous use. It can store about 12.5 gigabytes of data.
Glass connects to the Internet through Wifi or via a Bluetooth signal from a smartphone, Swab said. The Bluetooth connection enables calls and texts.
Drawbacks so far, Swab said, are that he can't wear Glass with his prescription glasses, and the screen can be too bright at night.
And, of course, there's the price, though Swab was perfectly willing to pay $1,500 to be among the first to get Glass.
He suspects Google will drastically lower the price by the end of this year to compete with smartphones.
Google spokesman Chris Dale would only say that the company will sell Glass to the general public for “less than $1,500.”
Dale said Google is hearing from potential customers who want to buy Glass and said demand is “extremely high.”
Forrester Research senior analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said in a report last week that Glass is a “when, not if, product.”
“This prototype version of Glass, known as the Glass Explorer edition, shows enough promise that we think it's just a matter of time until Glass takes off,” Epps wrote. “Glass is extremely compelling but extremely limited in its current form ... But Glass is continuously improving via over-the-air updates and new applications, and we have no doubt that in time, Glass will be the next iPhone.”
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Applications for jobless aid jump
- Bucking national trend, Pittsburgh not short on construction workers
- Postal Service workers protest deal with Staples, other retailers
- FCC proposes higher fees for higher Internet speeds
- GM profit sinks; CEO sees no recall hit to sales
- Oil and gas supplier Baker Hughes says it will list all fracking fluids
- American Airlines swings from loss to record profit
- Microsoft expands ad-free Bing search for schools
- Highmark allows extensions of less costly small business plans
- West Penn Allegheny Health System’s loss in 2013 balloons to $370M
- Highmark’s insurance profit falls 32%