A Canadian Glasshole, Part II: Instead of Helping, Google Glass is Just a Distraction at Work

by Tom Emrich

New to this article, be sure to read Part I of "A Canadian Glasshole" first.

Wearing Google Glass at work right now is more counterproductive than it is adding value to your everyday job.

The newness of Glass causes too much of a distraction for people to focus on what you are saying and often every interaction with a coworker or client ends up being a demo. This should die down over time, of course, but right now this is my experience when wearing Glass on the job.

Ironically, this is the complete opposite of what Google’s intent is with Glass. Glass was built to help technology move to the background so that we can benefit from it without it interrupting our everyday lives. But until wearable technology becomes just as prevalent as the smartphone, achieving this goal will have a rocky start.

There are glimpses of Glass achieving this goal such as when you are able to quickly check your text and email messages without having to look down at your phone. The ability to quickly look up at Glass to see who just contacted you without having to look away from the people you are meeting with seems much more professional and less rude than pulling out your smartphone and looking down at the screen.

MUST READ: A Canadian Glasshole, Part I

Of course, one could argue that this is just optics as whether you are looking down at your smartphone or up at a piece of glass hanging in front of your eye, you are still not really paying attention to the person in front of you. But it is use cases like this where I can truly see how archaic our current interactions with technology will seem to future generations that grow up with wearable technology.

Glass comes equipped with a couple of features that makes it perfect for business use. Gmail and Google Calendar are native apps for the device and the Google Now integration comes in handy for things like business trips where weather, flight information and directions to your first meeting are readily available with a just one swipe. But perhaps the best feature Glass has to offer the modern professional is its video chat via Hangouts which is perfect for face-to-face conference calls with a remote team.

Taking a call on Glass looks just as crazy as someone talking on his or her smartphone via a Bluetooth device. But the bone conductor technology Google has used to make sure that that you can hear the call without it being heard by those around you is pretty amazing. It literally feels like the person you are on the phone with is speaking from inside your head which I guess can be considered both creepy and cool.

Third party apps are scarce right now for Glass—both official and unofficial, especially those that are focused on business. Evernote has an app lets you send notes from your web account to your Glass so that you have them readily available for meetings. It also lets you send pictures from Glass to your Evernote notebook.

Some of the unofficial apps that I have been using at work have include Glass To Do, which is a simple to-do list app that lets you create task list items using voice, and an app called Glass Feed, which is quite powerful since it allows you to post items directly from Glass to an RSS feed which, if you use IFTTT, can relay that information to various services.

The best app I could wish to have for work would be one that integrates with PowerPoint and Keynote to take presentations to the next level. Using Glass to read my presentation notes or see which slide I’m on would go along way to making me look uber prepared for any meeting. And if I could also move to the next slide by swiping forward or backwards on the right arm of Glass that would be even better (hint hint, developer community).

Glass’ battery isn’t very long, but this isn’t the main reason I don’t wear Glass all day at work. Wearing Glass at the computer seems counterintuitive and distracting since I am already focused on one screen and don’t need another. But also your eyes start to get tired when you are new to the device. Google suggests that you only wear Glass for one or two hours in the beginning to reduce the risk of eye strain and optical fatigue. And the last thing I need at work at 3pm is for something to make me even more tired.

The potential for Glass at work is there, but until the newness wears off, you feel kind of funny sitting at your desk wearing a device that could eventually put you to sleep. Once more apps come out for Glass and my eyes adjust, I am sure I will find more reasons to wear it around the office.

 Read Part III of "A Canadian Glasshole" now.

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a first step to fulfilling that mission, Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search that took root in a Stanford University dorm room and quickly spread to information seekers around the globe. Google is now widely recognized as the world's... more

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Tom Emrich

Tom Emrich

Tom is a freelance consultant and blogger based in Toronto specializing in mobile, tablets and emerging technology. He has worked with independent developers, major media companies and start-ups on successfully developing, launching and marketing digital products here in Canada and abroad. His professional passion for technology is eclipsed only by his personal obsession with emerging... more

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