Liveblogging Google Glass at National Geographic

A conference attendee tries out Google Glass in Berlin, Germany. Photograph by Ole Spata, AFP/Getty Images
A conference attendee tries out Google Glass in Berlin, Germany. Photograph by Ole Spata, AFP/Getty Images

This morning, National Geographic employees are getting the chance to see Google Glass — the futuristic, wearable headgear that allows people to see the world through the eyes of Google — from inside our own auditorium.

The glasses can record video and capture photos as well as search the web and see directions — all in front of your eyes. NG writer Melody Kramer — who has 20/20 vision — is at the Google Glass presentation and will be sharing her thoughts throughout the hour.

9:54 AM The words “ok glass” are on a giant screen in National Geographic’s auditorium. Techno trance music is playing. I am the only staffer bobbing my head.

10:03 AM Glass is voice-activated. If you say “Glass, record a video,” it records a video. If you say, “Glass, take a picture,” it takes a picture. No word on what happens if you say, “Glass, I’d like a pot of spaghetti.”

10:09 AM There are only 2-3,000 pairs of Glass(es) out in the wild.

 10:11 AM Reminiscing about dial-up Internet. “Now we’re moving to a world of wearable technology.”

10:14 AM Demo begins. The glasses are on stage.

10:20 AM “What is Google Glass?” “Google Glass is like a little computer in your head.”

10:22 AM This isn’t going to be good for my attention span.

10:23 AM Glass is projecting the time. I’m currently wearing a wrist watch. I have to look down to see the time. In the future, I apparently will not have to do this. One victim of Google Glass: watch tans.

10:25 AM Push notifications can be sent out in your line of vision.  (Ostensibly, you could receive a push notification from a news source about a pothole, walk over to the pothole, say “Glass, take a picture” and then send the pothole pic back to the news organization. Then say, “Glass, give me a pat on the back for a job well done.”)

10:29 AM Glass knows where you are in the world. It knows the angle of your head in relation to your neck. (Which means: It knows when you are sleeping. It knows when you’re awake. No word on whether it knows if you’ve been bad or good — so be good for goodness sake.)

10:31 AM I think Glass just took a picture of me. Yup, there I am on a screen. “Glass, please delete that.”

10:32 AM Glass, seriously, delete that.

10:34 AM Will people walking into casinos be allowed to wear Google Glass?

10:38 AM This will be cool for sharing photographs in places where it might be difficult to take photographs. But it probably raises some ethical questions that will need to be hashed out.

 10:39 AM Glass, I’d like a glass of water. #glass

10:41 AM We are now connecting to wi-fi on a pair of glasses. The man wearing the glasses looks like he’s rolling his eyes but I think he’s just scrolling.

10:43 AM “Do you wear these to bed?” “No. My wife doesn’t agree on that.”

10:46 AM Glass, how do these Glass(es) make me look?

10:49 AM Q&A begins. Here are the A’s: Not sure when these will be released. Price point not sure. According to Google, the battery will last a day. If you use it a lot, less than that.

10:50 AM Glass, what are you doing later?

10:51 AM “Do I need an umbrella today?” Glass: “No.” (This is good, I suppose, if you’re wearing your Glass(es) in a room without windows.)

10:52 AM Question from audience member: “How does it know what voice to listen to? What if I stood next to you and yelled, ‘Google donkeys!'” (Writer note: transcribed verbatim.) Apparently Glass can differentiate voices.

10:53 AM It’s possible to bike with these on. (Safe at stop lights.) Driving? Not sure. Jogging? Sure. Flying kites? Why not? Sitting at home and taking pictures of the inside of your fridge? Debatable, but not for safety reasons.

10:54 AM Glass, take my picture. Get my good side.

10:55 AM Good privacy questions from audience member. How do people react with this device on your head? Demonstrator hasn’t seen bad reactions yet. (FYI and possibly TMI: He takes off the Glass(es) when he goes to the bathroom.) You need to either give a voice command or click a button to take pictures. So people know you’re doing it. What happens to the data in the cloud? There are interesting legal questions TBD. (Note to self: Might be a good story idea to pitch.)

10:59 AM I wonder if you can turn the GPS off. I keep the GPS off on my phone. (Answer: yes.)

11:01 AM Question from audience: Could this be integrated into a windshield?

11:03 AM And we’re done. The future is here, and it is returning to wherever the demonstrator stores Google Glass.

Human Journey

Meet the Author
Melody Kramer writes and edits pieces for both National Geographic's magazine and website. She tweets @mkramer.