More and more, I find myself using Glass in solitary settings rather than social ones. Four months into owning Google Glass, I’m the quintessential lonely cyborg—but in a good way.
For a dyed-in-the-wool gadget freak, I’m pretty outdoorsy, too. And much like gadgets and sharp rocks or gadgets and water sources, gadgets and nature don’t always mix well. In my extensive testing of Glass on romps through the wilds, I’ve discovered that one of my favorite places to wear Glass is in that glorious expanse largely devoid of humankind: the great outdoors.
1. Forget Social Interruptions
Glass is like having a puppy—a really, really cute pitbull puppy. Everyone wants to stop and ask about it (in lieu of petting my face, happily). But they’re a little wary of it at the same time. Are you recording me right now? (No.) Is Google watching? (Probably.)
Standing in line for a cup of coffee can make me a captive audience for Random Stranger’s rant about Big Brother. Note to world: Complaining about Glass to Glass does not open a direct complaint box conduit to Google.
(See also: My Date With A Glasshole)
After that whole date with a glasshole thing, the initial charm has largely worn off and I can’t get away with as much when it comes to my inner social circle. And as for the outer social circle, I honestly just don’t have the time or energy to deal with curious strangers a lot of the time. The good news? In the great outdoors, the squirrels are totally uninterested in what’s on my face.
2. The Drop Factor
You can protect your smartphone six ways to Sunday, but at the end of the day, if you drop it just so, your fate is sealed. Gorilla Glass, TPU cases and sticky screen films ain’t got nothing on physics. If you’ve explored your way to places breathtaking—the summit of a rocky hike up to a waterfall’s source, say—odds are you’re going to take the photo opp.
(See also: Google Glass FAQ)
And in that moment, on rough terrain, pulling that glass eye out of your cargo pants is a leap of faith. Glass solves this issue altogether—no fumbling in pockets, no interrupting your pace except to find your footing and steady a shot. Extra paranoid? Invest in some Croakies. Now, if only Glass played nice with Instagram…
3. A Lens Suited To The Wild
After a software update earlier this year, Google Glass became more photog-friendly than ever. The camera now includes a built-in HDR (high dynamic range) feature that boosts its ability to capture good shots in mixed light or strong background light, which helps Glass’s built-in glass a lot.
With an ultra-wide lens, Glass is designed to capture everything in a human’s natural field of view. It actually takes a bit of getting used to, but the device boasts a great wide angle for landscapes and nature photography. No lugging massive lenses up a mountain necessary.
The best part of outdoor adventuring is discovery, and naturally that means veering from the beaten path. Camera aside, turn by turn navigation with Glass is one of my favorite things about it. With Glass, you can get where you’re going without taking your eyes off the road. Sure, you might lose your tethered connection as you wend your way up forest service roads. But anywhere you have a signal, Glass can play co-pilot.
5. First-Person Perspective
Outdoor activity lends itself perfectly to Glass’s first-person perspective. It’s no coincidence that Google’s epic Glass promo stunt showcased skydivers hurtling through San Francisco airspace.
You really can capture environments and moments that you’d never normally think about trying to shoot. I don’t use the video feature much (it kills Glass’s already pretty awful battery life), but rock climbers and other adventuresome outdoor sporty types can capture footage that would otherwise be impossible short of a GoPro.