WSJ's Exclusive Project Glass Trial: Promising, But Disorienting and Uncomfortable

By Jamie Condliffe on at

While there's been no end of speculation about Google's Project Glass, nobody's actually had chance to try the technology out independently — until now. The Wall Street Journal's Spencer Ante was lucky enough to try a pair of the glasses out for 10 minutes, and his verdict is mixed.

He explains that the glasses weigh just a few ounces, with an embedded camera and that all-important heads-up display we've long been hoping for, which projects data into the user's field of vision on a small screen above the right eye. He explains what they're like to use:

In all, the glasses are like a wearable smartphone, allowing the user to take pictures, send messages and perform other functions via voice-activated commands. For instance, say "OK, Glass" into one of the glasses' two microphones and a menu pops off to the side of your vision showing icons that will let you take a picture, record a video, use Google Maps or make a phone call.

After 10 minutes of playing with the glasses-which the company prefers to call Google Glass, since they don't have lenses-I could see their long-term potential. The device fit well. It was easy to snap a picture or video without taking my smartphone out of my pocket. It was cool to see the information there in front of my right eye, though a little disorienting. I kept closing my left eye, which was uncomfortable.

All told, it's clearly too early to tell how good the glasses will be, because the software that will provide most of their functionality isn't finished yet. Sergey Brin explained to Ante that the HUD mapping system wasn't ready, nor was the phone functionality. With a £1,000-odd early-adopter launch coming up next year, the pressure's on. [WSJ]