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Google Glass Hands-On: Brimming With Potential, Dangerous While Driving

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the friends-don't-let-friends-glass-and-drive dept.

Google 67

Sean Hollister at The Verge was recently outfitted with Google Glass, and he provides a report on some basic usage. There's a learning curve — the device relies heavily on what information you push from your phone, so if you haven't thought through every use-case, you'll find yourself reaching for your phone fairly often. Hollister took Glass on the road for use as a kind of heads-up display while driving, and he says it felt awesome, but dangerous. "You have to look directly at what you're photographing, so you won't be getting any safe photographs unless they're photos of the road. More importantly, Glass' ability to look up important information on the go is extremely thin right now. ... While I loved having turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps navigation floating in my peripheral vision, the display wasn't bright enough for me to see those directions while looking out the windshield of my car. I had to glance up towards the car's ceiling, or place a hand behind the cube to see where I was going. ... When another person called, I was able to pick up easily enough by tapping Glass at my temple, but the bone-conducting speaker wasn't loud enough to hear over the noise of the car. I had to enunciate extremely clearly and loudly for Glass to interpret my voice searches correctly." Hollister says Glass has a lot of potential — the things that don't work well are at least close. CNET's Scott Stein also provided a detailed perspective on how Glass works for somebody who already wears glasses: "I can see the screen with some twiddling. Glass can end up tipping to the side, and I need to prop it up with my fingers, since the nose piece isn't seated on my nose any longer."

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67 comments

Nooooooooo (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658477)

he says it felt awesome, but dangerous.

You mean a device that distracts you from driving can be dangerous?
Who would have imagined?

Re:Nooooooooo (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659153)

Ah, so *this* is why Google is working on self-driving cars...

Re: Nooooooooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43660981)

Not exactly, but close.

With a self driving car the acceptable distraction from immersive or interactive advertising is higher.

Self driving cars are all about pushing ads in ways not acceptable today, to an audience trapped on their daily commute.

Re: Nooooooooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43665279)

Not acceptable today?
When's the last time you rode a bus or train?
They're filled with the stuff.

Re:Nooooooooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43661605)

he says it felt awesome, but dangerous.

Anyone who hits my car while they are wearing Google Glasses
will learn the true meaning of the words "awesome" and "danger.

( hint : the glasses will need to be surgically removed from the corpse
of the offender )

Projected in field of vision... (4, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year ago | (#43658481)

How is having something that is projected into your field of vision legal for use while driving? I realize there are cars that project your speed onto the windshield but that is the projection of a 1in high font of 1-2 digits at the bottom of the windshield, and it doesn't move when you move your head...

I'm especially concerned when the author states he has to put his hand up to block the road to see what's on the Google glass's screen..

Re:Projected in field of vision... (4, Insightful)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#43658539)

Not yet but I'm fairly certain it will be illegal to drive with these things on in California by the time a lot of them actually get sold.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658609)

Driving without due care and attention would cover this.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about a year ago | (#43660851)

Yes, but that requires proving that the driver was actually driving without due care, which inevitably leads to a long trial where the suspect argues that they were still taking due care while wearing the glasses. When you enumerate badness you get to skip proving whether something is bad, and simply have to prove the suspect was doing the action. This is the same basic rationale for why laws were passed specifically to deal with text messaging.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658673)

It's already illegal everywhere. It's called driving distracted, reckless driving etc. (depending on the jurisdiction and what they call it)

There is no need for a new explicit law, it's already under the heading of distracted driving.

There IS a need for a new explicit law! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659915)

If a traffic cop sees any of these dumb Google Glass gadgets, he is allowed to crush them under his boot right then and there.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658685)

Why doesn't California's legislature just mandate bubble wrap for everyone?

Does all of the nice weather make them weak, both mentally and physically? Or is there some other cause of complete and widespread dipshitification?

Re:Projected in field of vision... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658767)

Why doesn't California's legislature just mandate bubble wrap for everyone?

Does all of the nice weather make them weak, both mentally and physically? Or is there some other cause of complete and widespread dipshitification?

Um. . .all this tech was invented where?

Re:Projected in field of vision... (2)

The_K4 (627653) | about a year ago | (#43659053)

While I agree that distracted driving is dangerous and and I also expect that CA will make this illegal. I would love to have something like this to project speed and directions (think distance to next turn and direction) in my motorcycle helmet. The down side of some of these laws is that it's designed to nack people from doing stupid/dangerous things but also stop usage models for augmented reality that might actually make things easier/safer. How many drivers look at the GPS display on the center dash board? Is that safer them having it displayed on the windshield or google glass?

Re:Projected in field of vision... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43663197)

The real problem with sat-nav is that you can't blindly trust it, so have to look at the map and see what is coming up. You can't trust it not to take you on inappropriate routes sometimes (like off a bridge) and the directions are not clear enough to avoid having to look at up-coming turns so you can be in the right lane.

Looking at the map is a huge distraction and takes you eyes off the road. Even if it were projected on the windscreen it would draw your attention away from the road.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (1)

Pitawg (85077) | about a year ago | (#43658649)

Forget driving use. I want to see the Cop interaction with the noisy drunk driver being told to take them off by the side of the road.

I can just imagine the Witherspoon citizen rights spiel with the Glass in place.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659249)

just wait until google glass becomes google windshield

Re: Projected in field of vision... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43660995)

That is part of why the google wants us in their self driving cars.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659351)

Well you see we have these things called laws. Basically if there is no law that says you cannot do something, than you are free to do it. There is an assumption of freedom vested in the hands of the people. This might answer your question about why it is not illegal, to drive while wearing a device that does not exist commercially yet. This is also an ideal technology for driving, once it is a little more mature an the issues described are fixed i would not be surprised if it became illegal to drive without them. They can give you access to all of your cars instrumentation, nav, radio, and phone access without looking away from the road.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (1)

Zerth (26112) | about a year ago | (#43659635)

How is having something that is projected into your field of vision legal for use while driving?

Why are LED billboards legal?

Re:Projected in field of vision... (2)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#43659887)

How is having something that is projected into your field of vision legal for use while driving?

It's not projected into your field of vision, not the part of it you use to look at the road, cars, pedestrians, traffic signs, etc., anyway. To look at the screen you have to shift your gaze up and to the right. It's also translucent, which is probably the biggest reason that the guy couldn't easily see it -- white translucent text (which is what was used in the demo videos I've seen) would be fairly hard to see in full daylight. I wonder if it would be easier if the top of your windshield is tinted, to provide a darker background for better contrast.

I think it has the obvious potential to be much safer than looking down at your GPS, or phone.

I'm especially concerned when the author states he has to put his hand up to block the road to see what's on the Google glass's screen.

Yes, this is an issue. Perhaps the navigation displays should use a dark font during daylight. I believe pure black is reserved to mean "transparent", but perhaps a dark blue would be good during daylight.

(Disclaimer: I work for Google but I haven't touched a Glass device other than a very early prototype that one of my colleagues who was transferring to the Glass team had. All of this is based on the Youtube videos and the public developer toolkit documentation I've seen, and none of that has included much information about what the navigation display looks like.)

Re:Projected in field of vision... (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year ago | (#43660489)

How is having something that is projected into your field of vision legal for use while driving?

It is a whole lot better than having to look away from the road. Sure it is possible to have the display be too busy with twitter feeds, facebook walls and youtube all going at once, but extreme cases shouldn't be an excuse to exclude the normal case.

I'm especially concerned when the author states he has to put his hand up to block the road to see what's on the Google glass's screen..

That's an implementation failure. Either the projection is not bright enough or it needs to have a tinted background - like the inside of a pair of sunglasses.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43662651)

I'm especially concerned when the author states he has to put his hand up to block the road to see what's on the Google glass's screen..

That's an implementation failure. Either the projection is not bright enough or it needs to have a tinted background - like the inside of a pair of sunglasses.

Likely no one in the development team took them outside before they released the dev-kit. "Oh right, sunlight." Photochromatic ("Transition") tint on the back of the display lens might work as a quick'n'dirty solution.

The biggest failure, IMO, is their incompatibility with regular glasses. The only option (other then clumsily holding them up with your hand) is to have prescription lenses custom fitted to the GooGlass. In other words, the devs really did assume people will never want to take the headset off.

Re:Projected in field of vision... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43666933)

Why would you ever assume the default position on something should be that it's illegal?

Also, in agreement with the "driving without due care" comment later.

Our laws should clearly outlaw things that are clearly dangerous, and nothing else.

Put A Fork In It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658531)

Once the imagery set in of dorks wearing these things while riding around on their Segways, happily feeling the breeze beneath their Utilikilts, confident in the safety of their wallets in their forward-facing fanny packs and proud of the corporate logo emblazoned on their pocket protectors, it was all over.

anti-fashion and anti-cool (1, Redundant)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about a year ago | (#43658601)

Re:anti-fashion and anti-cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658661)

Yeah, we all saw that two weeks ago. thanks anyway.

Re:anti-fashion and anti-cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658919)

Faggot.

Is this another thread where nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658615)

Threaten to punch people wearing google glass?

Those are always hilarious.

Re:Is this another thread where nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658715)

We won't have to, because they will all run into poles and big trucks while driving.

One possible application ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658623)

being tested [myspacecdn.com] in a lab somewhere

CHP should mail this clown a citation. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658651)

Distracted driving is stupid and against the law even if there is no law against the specific means of distraction.

Re:CHP should mail this clown a citation. (1)

ProfessorKaos64 (1772382) | about a year ago | (#43665091)

Amen to that. Anything that enters your fiend of vision is a distraction. Your eyes track objects in their spatial recognition field while driving, take your eyes off that horizon to the side, /up/down/left/right, pulls your focus away from any potential road hazzard. There once was a very nice reply on this in another story, but that's the basics of it. Even when you talk on your cell phone, which too many people do, your brain has to commit "processor" time to the phone, and that pulls away from your focus. Another reason to refrain from road head :)

brand new tech (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43658653)

This is brand new tech, everyone who has it still has a beta version of the end product if my memory serves me right. of course its not perfect yet. but the concept is amazing (negating the creepy factor) and im sure after a generation or 2 all the kinks i keep reading about will be ironed out. Most of the kinks seem to me people simply using the devices in ways that google may not have anticipated, or people want them to do more then they can.

its still too early to tell, but it does look promising

Re:brand new tech (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658825)

This is brand new tech

If you ignore the fact that wearable computers have been around since at least the 1980s, yes, it's 'brand new'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Mann for example.

Re:brand new tech (1, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about a year ago | (#43658915)

yes, because a wearable computer in 1980 could access pretty much any information in the world damn near instantaneously.

stop being a fool, oh.. AC.. makes sense now

Re:brand new tech (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659007)

yes, because a wearable computer in 1980 could access pretty much any information in the world damn near instantaneously.

And how is internet access relevant to the complaints in this article? You know, like the display can't be seen and the sound can't be heard?

It's not exactly hard to hook up wireless Internet to a wearable computer. Making a good wearable computer is much harder.

Re:brand new tech (2)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year ago | (#43658909)

This is brand new tech, everyone who has it still has a beta version of the end product if my memory serves me right. of course its not perfect yet. but the concept is amazing (negating the creepy factor) and im sure after a generation or 2 all the kinks i keep reading about will be ironed out.

This is Google. After 2 generations and it's in common use, it will still be beta.

Re:brand new tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659255)

Some things look promising when they are just fuzzy sci-fi-ish ideas for the distant future. Then, the future arrives and we realize all of the practical implications that weren't obvious when the idea was popularized.

For example, the practical limitations of the human brain WRT to multi-tasking.

A ton of gee-whiz tech has been long-hoped-for and ultimately developed based on the assumption that it would be no problem for humans to adopt them, or that sphere of advancement would take care of itself, roughly apace with whatever could be invented and sold.

IMO, mass market wearable HUDs are like flying cars. Sounds great on paper, or in a movie. Never going to live up to the hype or realize the imagined potential.

Of course, human hubris knows no bounds, so chances of humanity accepting the limitations of the human body or the physical universe are pretty much nil. And to be sure, this will be celebrated as a triumph of the human spirit or somesuch.

Re:brand new tech (1)

red crab (1044734) | about a year ago | (#43662699)

Of course, human hubris knows no bounds, so chances of humanity accepting the limitations of the human body or the physical universe are pretty much nil. And to be sure, this will be celebrated as a triumph of the human spirit or somesuch.

Makes sense..but the idea might take off - some gadgets are created to make existing tasks easier and some are just created to do things that we really don't need at the first place. They start as a fad and end up as a necessity. Glass belongs to the this category.

Hope I am not the only one here who is praying that this stupid thing never comes into production.

Even more dangerous... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43658827)

If you lean over and shout into the google glass "GOOGLE, IMAGE SEARCH DIARRHEA, I'M FEELING LUCKY" while he's driving.

I be sure it's permanent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659055)

If somebody hits me wearing this stupid gadget while driving, I'll be sure it is permanently implanted in that persons eye and face.

That was well thought out (1)

Daetrin (576516) | about a year ago | (#43659239)

"I can see the screen with some twiddling. Glass can end up tipping to the side, and I need to prop it up with my fingers, since the nose piece isn't seated on my nose any longer."

So google has created an incredibly geeky device that only nerds are likely to feel comfortable with at first... and it doesn't work well for people who wear glasses. I'm sure this will turn out great.

Why not real glasses, bigger screen, 3D? (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about a year ago | (#43659257)

I wonder why instead of making the "screen" only that small area at the top right of your vision, they don't make traditional-looking glasses with an entire field-of-view screen in 3D.

Re:Why not real glasses, bigger screen, 3D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659413)

I wonder why instead of making the "screen" only that small area at the top right of your vision, they don't make traditional-looking glasses with an entire field-of-view screen in 3D.

Entire field-of-view 3D vision is already available. Even better, it encourages you to excercise your powers of observation and insight, rather than crippling your cognitive capacity with spoon-fed trivia and gratuitous distractions.

The next youtube fad.... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#43659349)

> so you wonâ(TM)t be getting any safe photographs unless theyâ(TM)re photos of the road

Why do I fear that this will, in fact, be the main thing that comes out of people buying google glass. Suddenly, youtube is awash in commentators about the morning commute. "As you probably remember from last weeks
videos, this intersection is one of the worst in the area. I would avoid it if there was any reasonable way around, but that really is why traffic is so bad here isn't it"

"Here we go again, same guy who cut me off last wednsday, if you remember - that is the day I was running a little late for work and really got caught in it...."

Re:The next youtube fad.... (1)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year ago | (#43659551)

Sounds pretty awesome, actually!
Screw the Russians with their dashcams. Now we get the view from onlookers AND First Person Road Rage shots!

BTW, what kind of stupid asshole would expect "making pretty photo's from your car whilst driving" to be a reasonable use case for Google Glass?
I bet it would work great for traffic jam flirting, though. Keep your window-sized QR codes of your facebook url handy!

Re:The next youtube fad.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43660871)

There's a guy on a motorcycle who does this. As someone who is looking into getting a motorcycle, the videos were very useful in getting a better feel of what real life driving around on a motorcycle is like. However, I didn't need multiple people doing it, only one person. It would be less useful for cars. Most people have access to car rides but few have access to motorcycle rides.

Re:The next youtube fad.... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#43664605)

Its nice, I miss it.

Not sure a video is going to give you much of a feel, not like rolling that throttle will. The hard part is getting the hang of the transitions from stop to moving and back to stop again, since the handling of the bike reverses somewhere around 10 mph, and at stop, you actually have to hold it up.

Best advice I have is take the MSF safety course, they have excellent instructors and a good program and you use their bikes for the course. Course you probably have to sign up now to take it in August.

Haw Haw (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43659425)

said Nelson, while pointing at Microsoft

Before the try it with a car (1)

dr2chase (653338) | about a year ago | (#43660459)

How about with bicycles, and with tablesaws? Report back to us on how that goes.

Re:Before the try it with a car (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#43662701)

Paramedics are going to have to get used to saying "Ok Glass, share video" or we are gonna miss out on some epic footage.

Eye dominance (5, Interesting)

Varmint01 (415694) | about a year ago | (#43660583)

I had a go at Google Glass a few days ago (courtesy of a friend with connections), and I had a rather unexpected problem with them. The display is set on the right side of the frame and can't be moved. I'm extremely left-eye dominant, to the the point where reading with my right eye alone is next to impossible. I can make out the scenery, but the center of my vision in that eye has the acuity of peripheral vision, and I can't parse complex shapes (ie text) with that eye alone. I hate to claim "I have a medical condition", but I do, and it's called amblyopia. Until Google makes the display switchable to the left side, this is a show-stopper for me.

I can certainly see that as the kind of thing that will show up in version 2 or 3, but they would be a waste of money for me at this point.

Re:Eye dominance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43664863)

or for us who have issues with single vision in general,

make a dual eye model and we will talk.
I would rather not look like vegeta thank you.

Re:Eye dominance (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#43667137)

I'm extremely left-eye dominant, to the the point where reading with my right eye alone is next to impossible. I can make out the scenery, but the center of my vision in that eye has the acuity of peripheral vision, and I can't parse complex shapes (ie text) with that eye alone. I hate to claim "I have a medical condition", but I do, and it's called amblyopia.

It must suck for you that the DMV tests the eyesight of each eye individually.

I can certainly see that as the kind of thing that will show up in version 2 or 3, but they would be a waste of money for me at this point.

Don't despair.

Google Glass would be a waste of money for almost anyone at this point (unless you're a developer wishing to develop on that emerging platform, or unless you're a billionaire looking for a fashion accessory and money is nothing to you right now).

An interesting point all comments have overlooked. (2)

imsabbel (611519) | about a year ago | (#43663517)

Brightness.

I found it very interesting that he found the display to dim to see anything when looking out of the windshield.

No preview has mentioned this up to now, and I think thats an interesting issue. If you cannot even see the turn by turn display of google maps in daylight, how will the other usability be?

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