GlassAppZ




Marketing the New Frontier

Category : Life through Glass · (1) Comment · by June 13, 2013

Forbes released an article today that estimated the production cost of Glass.  After reviewing the Glass Teardown from Catwig, Forbes believes a cost of $200 to be an “incredibly safe bet”.  They estimate the Glass prism to cost no more than $30 to produce, and most other components are quite similar to those in a smart phone.

So why did we pay $1500 when all signs indicate the mass-market sale price will be more like $349?  Android Authority speculates that the $1500 price tag for the Glass Explorer Edition was designed to make sure “the only people buying Glass are those who are planning to develop for the platform”.  I believe there is another reason.  I think the early edition price tag, and the highly publicized “ifIhadGlass” competition, were all part of Google’s marketing strategy.

Those of us who attended Google I/O will remember that, even after signing up for Glass, we were still not allowed to look through Glass and experience the product first-hand.  We had to wait another 7+ months before we even had a chance to use Glass at the Glass Foundry events in New York and San Francisco, and that was only open to some of the applicants.  The rest of us had to wait another 3+ months before we could even hold this amazing product in our hands!  All of this anticipation made for terrific marketing!  It gave people time to infuse their hopes and dreams into the device, to see it for what it could do more than for what it did do.

Then came #ifIhadGlass in February, and tens of thousands applied for the opportunity to spend $1500 on a beta product.  #IfIhadGlass was trending for days.  Some people put crazy amounts of work into their applications.  Other people made quick sarcastic responses.  Winners were chosen randomly.  Life isn’t fair… especially in the Googleverse.

But in the end, everyone was talking about how everybody wanted Glass.  Great marketing!

Those of us with Glass can tell you, your life will change when you wear this product.  You are an instant celebrity.  I am now able to recognize that sparkle in the eye, that gleam of excitement from someone who has actually seen Glass in real life for the first time.  They don’t even have to ask anymore.  I just take it off, hand it over, and start with the demo.  I have become an non-commission traveling salesman whenever I go out.  Glass Explorers, myself included, give lectures on Glass to packed rooms at tech meetups and people line up for a chance to have their picture taken with my Glass.  Did I mention, great marketing!

But then comes the creep factor.  Are those Glassholes trying facial recognition on me?  Are they looking at porn when they’re talking to me?  So what does Google do?  They forbid facial recognition and pornography apps on Glass.  They silence any note that sounds slightly disharmonious in the great media chorus.

But Google, where’s that open-market, anything goes attitude that got Android to the top?

It’s not about morality, it’s about marketing!

Android was competing in an existing market.  There was nothing new about the smartphone.  Android didn’t have to sell the concept, they just had to set themselves apart from their competition.

Glass is new.  People aren’t comfortable with it yet.  Google has to do whatever they can to minimize the creep factor and make Glass feel desirable to everyone.  And by making it hard to get, they’ve made people either lust for it or hate it.  And the haters might just be jealous.

Google wants to put their name on the next step of the technological evolution, and success in this world is all about marketing!

Glass Bans Abound

Category : Life through Glass · (1) Comment · by June 10, 2013

Glass Front

I was hoping that we few Glass Explorers would have a little more time in a free Glass world, but alas…  Apparently, casinos in Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Connecticut are already starting to ban Glass.  According to the press of Atlantic City, the New Jersey Division of Gambling Enforcement issued a directive instructing the 12 casinos in Atlantic City to bar casino visitors from wearing Glass.

Some Las Vegas casinos have directed their security personnel to ask visitors to remove Glass, including those owned by Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts.  Caesars own several Las Vegas casinos, including Harrah’s, Horseshoe, Paris, Rio and Flamingo.  MGM Resorts own Bellagio, City Center, Aria, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte Carlo, NYNY, Luxor, Excalubur and Circus Circus.  That doesn’t leave too many options for the Glass-wearing visitor to the Vegas strip.  You may still be safe at Wynn and Encore, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

It was reported that Glass was banned at the annual Google shareholders meeting last Thursday.  In fact, Glass was not actually “banned” and some attendees were reportedly wearing Glass according to a report from CNBC.  However, Google forbid the use of recording devices during the event.

Some people have complained that Glass is not allowed at their workplaces.  As an employer, I understand this decision.  For one thing, Glass creates an initial distraction because everyone who sees it wants to try it on, ask questions about it, ask how to use it and what it does.  After day one, you are still likely to field questions from any visitors to the office.  And when you are not giving Glass demos, you will still be interrupted by text messages, social media updates, news headlines, and whatever else you’ve subscribed to.  Even though Glass has been marketed as a way to keep you in the loop without taking you out of the moment, your brain simply does not work that way.

“Mindfulness” has become a popular tool for those looking to increase productivity while decreasing stress.  This involves a conscious effort to put distractions aside, focus on the task at hand, work “in the present” and get “into the zone”.  When we can concentrate purely on the task at hand, the answers come more quickly and easily.  Unfortunately, the constant interruptions of the digital age are the very nemeses of mindfulness and productivity.

So the moment or two it takes you to read and process a message from Glass is only the beginning.  The end result may be a complete inability to accomplish anything for fear that, as soon as you get into the groove of thinking, you’ll be assaulted with another interruption…

NYT reports “Hurricane Betty rages against the east coast” Maybe we should change our travel plans. 

A text comes in: “Where are the trash bags?”  Ugh!

“NASDAQ reports record losses!”  I’ll never retire at this rate.

“Let’s do fish for dinner” Does fish sound good?

“When is Trudy’s birthday?” Whoops!

“Just wanted to say Hi”  Seriously?

So if you find yourself unusually stressed out in the weeks and months to come, give this a try…  1) Exit the internet, 2) Turn your phone to “mute”, and 3) Take off your Glass for while.  Experience a world of quiet contemplation and feel how relaxing and uplifting it can be.  However, if you find yourself “jonesing” for a connectivity fix, it may already be too late…

Call me a Glasshole, but…

Category : Life through Glass · (2) Comments · by June 9, 2013

I’m going to tell you a story about how Glass made a positive difference in my life and the lives of people I care about.  At the end, you might say “There’s a Glasshole thing to do!”

Well, you go right ahead…

ok glass2

A few months ago, someone I care about was diagnosed with heart problems.  She is a member of my family and I will call her “X”.  She had a diagnostic procedure performed on Friday.  Her sister and brother came into town and the three of us drove her to the hospital at 6am.  “X” had not eaten or had anything to drink since the previous evening and she’d barely slept.  They gave her some “happy juice” before the procedure, sent us to the waiting room, and we waited…

Eventually they called us back to visit with her and listen to what the doctor had to say about the procedure.  We were all about half-asleep, except for “X” who was sleepy AND dopey from tranquilizers.  The doctor started discussing his findings, which included major blockage in all 3 of the primary arteries that feed the heart.  After a moment of surprise and incomprehension, I started recording the conversation with Glass.

So there it is – the thing everyone is so afraid of.  Someone will start recording you without your knowledge or permission.  Later, they may use that information against you.  You may be held accountable for what you said.  Oh, the horror!

I do understand, in this sue-happy world, that people have to be on the defensive.  However, three half-asleep relatives and one doped-up patient are not the best witnesses to process this life-and-death data that’s being laid at our feet.  The doctor has just been looking at the patient’s heart.  If you get his input now, while it’s still fresh in his memory, you have the best chance of getting accurate information.  If you wait for a follow-up appointment, he has, in the interim, looked at another dozen hearts and may not be able to answer your questions with as much accuracy as he can right now.  But, like I said, everyone is stressed out and tired and why should you trust your memory in a situation like this?  Memory is extremely flawed, even on a good day.

So anyway, we all get together for dinner the next night and “X” is saying that she wants to schedule bypass surgery for October.  Seriously?  What had she heard?

Unfortunately, the doctor’s tone of voice hadn’t stressed the importance of the problem.  He sounded matter-of-fact, and phrases like “borrowed time” have a way of slipping past the ear that does not want to hear it.  Fortunately, I had already downloaded the film, and so I suggested we take a look at it with fresh, unclouded minds.

Now there was no debate.  100% blockage in one artery, 70% in the other two.  You can wait a couple of months, but here are the reasons why you shouldn’t.  These are the risks.  This is the irreversible damage that will happen if you wait.  These are the consequences.  The next symptom will likely be death.

You can argue with the broken memories of sleep-deprived minds.  You cannot argue with video.

Call me a Glasshole, but if I’m paying for an expert opinion, especially in a life or death situation, why should I entrust that valuable expertise to a system as fail-sure as my memory?  I didn’t have to hold up the conversation.  I didn’t ask the doctor to wait while I fumbled for my phone and sorted through for the proper app.  I pressed one button on my Glass.

And I’m really glad I did!

Tits & Glass and policy changes

Category : App Reviewz, Life through Glass · (1) Comment · by June 3, 2013

There have been quite a few interesting developments in the world of Glass today.

phototg

Glass gets Porn

Tits & Glass, the first pornography app for Glass, was released today to a waiting world.  This glassware sends pornographic images to the user’s timeline.  You can vote and comment on images.  Comments use the Glass speech-to-text capabilities.  Also, you can share your own pornographic images with the T&G community.

An interesting and inevitable concept.  Since the Dawn of Tech, we have seen technology and pornography go hand in… uh… hand.  “In my day, the internet was only used to download porn”, or so said Philip J. Fry when speaking of the 1990′s.  I can’t begin to tell you how many solitaire apps I’ve seen on Android with clunky UI’s and naked girls.  Unlike iPhone’s Appstore, the Android Market (now the Google Play Store) has never been “curated”, so almost anything goes.  Now we have a new tech venue, and porn is quick to follow.  They call it “Rule #34: “If it exists, there IS porn on it.”

So I proceeded to try to review Tits & Glass.  Even though everyone is talking about it, nobody wants to admit actually using it.  But I’m not going to shy away from the risque.  Alas…

Google says “NO”

I have this pet peeve about people changing the rules at the last minute, and that’s what happened here.  On June 1st, Google changed their Glass Platform Developer Policies to forbid “sexually explicit material”.  MiKandi, the developers of Tits & Glass, only became aware of this development after their glassware was launched.  Google’s Policy states

“Violations of these policies are violations of the Glass API Terms of Service, and can result in the disablement or removal of your application, being prohibited from providing future applications, or termination of your Google Account(s).” 

It’s that last part that’s really scary, at least for Glass owners.  Your Glass is linked with your Google account -  it cannot be transferred – so if your Google account is dead, it would be like losing the keys to the kingdom.

Furthermore, if Tits & Glass gets the Google boot, their app would no longer be easy to load.  The user would have no way of turning the app “On” in the MyGlass website, so the app would need to be side-loaded, which is not something the average user wants to do.

At the risk of offending someone, I’d like to say this is a decision Google should have made a long time ago, BEFORE the first Glass devices were released to developers.  This app was obvious.

Google had a similar “no pornography” rule in place in the Android market but they didn’t really enforce it, at least not in the first few years.  I can’t tell you how often I flagged pornographic solitaire games on Android to no avail.  Let me be clear – I am a woman and I am not offended by pornography.  I AM offended by “developers” taking someone else’s software, adding stolen nude photos to it and cluttering up the market with it.  Honestly, the Cards & Casino section (where my company sells our fine quality card games) used to look like a porn store and it turned away our potential customers.

So if Google allowed that image to define their aspiring Android market back before it became popular, I’m really quite puzzled about this development.

So what’s the deal with Tits & Glass?

After installing T&G, I waited and waited for pornographic photos to appear in my timeline.  “Where’s my porn?” I thought, and wondered how my life had come to this.  I tapped a photo and looked for the option to share it to T&G but there was no new sharing option available.  I scanned the website looking for new submissions from the app’s users.  The page of images was up when my business partner, Josh, entered my office for our daily meeting.  I explained the situation but neglected to minimize the window until he complained that it was “distracting”.

This whole story is starting to sound like the premise of an x-rated film.  The fact is, I just wanted to write my review and get on with my day but so far I saw no evidence that T&G worked at all.

Finally, I found the answers in the website’s blog:

Wow, what a morning, folks. Really. We appreciate all the positive feedback on our adult Glass app, Tits & Glass.

Since we announced the availability of Tits & Glass this morning, nearly 10,000 unique vistors have visited TitsAndGlass.com, and a dozen Glass users have already signed up with our app. Not surprisingly, we’ve reached our API limits. Our previously approved request to up our limit was later denied today, so unfortunately, there’ll be no more updates to Tits & Glass until tomorrow.

However, more importantly, and thus the purpose behind this blog post- MiKandi became aware today that Google changed its policy over the weekend to ban adult content on all Glassware.

When we received our Glass and started developing our app 2 weeks ago, we went through the policy very carefully to make sure we were developing the app within the terms. We double checked again last week when making the site live on the Internet and available for install for testing during last week’s announcement. We were not notified of any changes and still haven’t been notified by Google. We also double checked our emails to see if any notifications of policy changes were announced, but we haven’t found any such emails.

Although the app is still live and people are using it, at this point we must make changes to the app in order to comply with the new policies. Expect to see changes to the application tomorrow.

Best regards,

Jesse Adams

CEO, MiKandi

Not surprisingly, the bottom of Google’s policy page makes this statement:

“These policies may be revised from time to time without notice. Please check back here for any updates.”

So there you have it.  I can’t review the app today since the API limit has been reached, and I think I’ll have to get up pretty early tomorrow if I want a crack at it.

In the mean time, anyone with or without Glass can view and vote on the images on the Tits & Glass website.  They are shown in order of popularity (by votes), and I can tell you there have been new images added since I started looking into this earlier.  This is the link:  titsandglass.com.  It is very pornographic – what I would consider XX rated photos – so enter at your own risk and don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

For the less X-rated web page that discusses how to set up Tits & Glass, you can click here instead:  titsandglass.com/how-it-works

Or for the short version, here’s a screenshot from the page as of today.  I expect the whole thing will be different by tomorrow.

Old how it works

 

Pictures of People without Permission

Category : Life through Glass · No Comments · by June 2, 2013

Glass No?

Considering all the hype about Glass photography and privacy, I decided I’d better do some research.  I was surprised at what I learned.

1) Can you photograph people without asking?

YES.  You can photograph people in public places – on a street or in a park – except in cases where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, like a bathroom, dressing room or medical facility.

2) Even children and celebrities?

YES.

3) What about in private places that are open to the public, like stores or restaurants?

MAYBE.  Property owners can prohibit you from taking photos ON their property.  However, you can still take photos OF their property from a public place, like the sidewalk.

There are many private-public places that forbid photography.  Sometimes shops do not want photos taken of their products.  Some museums and most casino floors will not allow photography.  If you are on private property, the property owner gets to set the rule.  However, in most places you can assume photography is allowed and explicit permission is not required.

Exceptions will arise.  For instance, does a person have the right to expect privacy while eating in a restaurant?  A recent court case said “yes”.  So add restaurants to the list of no-no places and think twice when in doubt.  Remember, many situations have not been addressed in a court of law… yet.

4) Can you sell photos of people without a model release?

Model releases are needed for commercial purposes (marketing and advertizing) but not for editorial or artistic purposes.

5) Are there exceptions?

YES.  For example, some government, military or nuclear installations can prohibit photographs on the basis of national security.

 

These are some guidelines as to what is generally permitted.  Local laws may vary.  This should not be construed as legal advice.

If you’d like to learn more, read through the sources linked below.  Hopefully my article will help you if some privacy fanatics insist you are violating their rights.

Resources:

ACLU Know Your Rights:  Photographers

PhotoRights.org

USA Today:  Think twice before taking pictures in public

Bert P. Krages II, Attorney at Law:  The Photographer’s Right

Scary stuff I learned about “Privacy”

Category : Life through Glass · (1) Comment · by May 31, 2013

Earlier this evening, Google released this statement on Google+

Glass and Facial Recognition

When we started the Explorer Program nearly a year ago our goal was simple: we wanted to make people active participants in shaping the future of this technology ahead of a broader consumer launch.  We’ve been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass. As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time.

We’ve learned a lot from you in just a few weeks and we’ll continue to learn more as we update the software and evolve our policies in the weeks and months ahead.

My first question is, without a Glass “Market” of any sort, how is your approval relevant?  So far the only apps I have seen that got the Google stamp of approval were big, official apps like New York Times, Twitter, Facebook and such.  Even though Glass Tweet was one of the first pieces of Glassware available, it still has not been “reviewed by Google”.  Nor has our own Glass to Facebook, even though it was available weeks ahead of the official Facebook Glassware.  Nor has Glassnost, an independant app and photo-sharing community.  In fact, it looks like the only Glassware Google is “approving” is from the big guys that help legitimize Glass!

Approved apps

My second and more interesting question is, how can it be possible that applications on my phone can take my photos, contacts, and internet history and send them to developers who sell them to ad providers or anyone who is willing to pay for the information?  Furthermore, this is perfectly LEGAL as long as it is disclosed in the application’s PRIVACY POLICY.

Why do I make such accusations?  I am an Android developer.  I’ve spent the last few days at AnDevCon IV, the Android Developer Conference, and I attended 2 talks on privacy law given by Adam D. H. Grant of the Alpert, Barr and Grant law firm.

The permissions that you agree to when you download an app have the ability to do more than just operate the app.  For instance an app that helps you find your car can also tell advertizers what locations you frequent.  Now you’ll get ads that are more targeted to your movements.

It gets worse.  Much worse.  Here’s a slide from the presentation listing  the data apps can collect:

legal photo2b

Biometrics?  Here’s a link for more information, but long story short, it means identifying you by your appearance.  An app that has permission to access your photos can send them to  the developer to sell to the highest bidder.  Who would pay for your photos?  Advertizers who want to know everything about you to so they can custom tailor ads to your every need.

But, frighteningly enough, anyone can buy those photos… even those who don’t have such wholesome intentions.  I have about 10 photo editing apps on my phone, and I’m scared.

And then there’s #4 to worry about.  And #5.  And it’s legal!

The whole purpose of the presentation was to educate the group on how to CYA when gathering “PII” (Personally Identifiable Information).  As long as the developer discloses their intention in the app, they are acting within the law.

You see, some people assume that, if the developer has a Privacy Policy, they must be protecting your privacy.  WRONG!

Most people don’t take the time to read the Privacy Policy.  Even if they do, the details are hidden in long paragraphs of legal-eze.

And then there are people like me who assumed that such things could not even be possible.  Alas, WRONG!

The speaker probably thought my outrage was sweet and naive.  He laughed when I said “Who would do that to their customers?  That’s dishonorable!”  But heck, the whole thing really upsets me.  For one thing, it makes developers like me look bad!  For another, many of my compeditors are making big money with these horrible practices and are using that money to get a market advantage with advertizing.

So, all things considered, why is everyone so worried about Google Glass’s potential for facial recognition?  Perhaps it’s a diversion.  Create a stir around Glass so nobody will pay attention while the relavent privacy laws are being decided…?

You see, the APPS Act of 2013 is less than a month old.  Here is Congressman Hank Johnson introducing it:

So maybe the people who make millions from advertizing want the public to be outraged about a new, futuristic device so maybe they won’t get concerned about their old, familiar cell phones.  After all, our lives are on our phones.  We capture moments with pictures, keep our records and contacts on it, we have it within reach 24 hours a day!

Kinda like finding a huge spider living under your bed.

Gleaning the Prism

Category : Life through Glass, Photo & Video · (3) Comments · by May 24, 2013

The Google Glass prism is a fascinating piece of technology, but how does it work?  Read on and learn more…

Prism new2

Martin Missfeldt created this infographic to describe how the Glass prism works.  The graphic is from February, before Glass was available to anyone outside Google.  Martin’s theories were based on the Glass patent and various other sources listed at the bottom of the graphic.  However, I suspect he did not have the benefit of seeing a good photo of the Glass prism (like mine) which might account for this major oversight.

google-glass-infographic

This image has been posted hundreds of thousands of times (according to a Google image search), even on popular tech sites like Mashable, but has anyone noticed this?

Glass Angle

The angle of the screen is backwards!

The relationship between the prism and the eye is not really accurate either.  Here’s a photo of me looking through Glass.  Compare it to the illustration above.  The screen was positioned for best visibility before the photo was taken.

Glass Worn 1

Here’s another look:Glass Worn 2

And why is the face of the prism directly across from the projector curved convexly and mirrored?  You can see how reflective it is in this shot below:Prism new B

Perhaps it was mirrored to deflect sunlight that would otherwise diffuse the image on the screen.  Or maybe it’s so inquisitive people like me can’t look into the projector.  But that doesn’t explain why that surface is convex.

So how does the prism work?

Well, there’s a reason I started by saying “Read on and learn more” instead of “Here’s the answer”.  There are currently several players in the wearable tech game and I don’t think Google wants to expose their hand quite yet.  I’m sure many companies hope to copy the Glass prism, and while imitation may be the highest form of flattery, flattery doesn’t win the game.

Navigating Glass

Category : Life through Glass · (1) Comment · by May 23, 2013

Prezi is great if you have a presentation to do.  Their 3-D backgrounds are even more entertaining, but I need to work on my fonts to get them to stand out from the custom background I created, so I haven’t done that yet.

This is an excerpt from my work-in-progress Prezi about Glass.  This emulates the Glass UI in a really terrific way that other portals don’t capture.  Check it out!

Does Facial Recognition Software Work?

Category : Life through Glass · (5) Comments · by May 17, 2013

Earlier this week we saw the first Glass app to use facial recognition, called MedRef for Glass and developed by Lance Nanek.  In my research, I found that MedRef uses a web service for its facial recognition, Betafaceapi.com.  Betafaceapi has a demo on their site where you can upload your own photos:

betaface

So I gave it a whirl.  I uploaded my Google+ profile photo along with another two photos and got some interesting results.

facial1

The software maps your face and returns some of data.  When I went to the “Recognition” tab and clicked “Compare with celebrities” I received an assortment of photos of actresses who apparently look like me, at least according to this software.  I believe the multi-colored bar across the bottom of the photo indicates how strong the resemblance is.  Then, when I clicked on “Compare with detected faces”, I got the results of comparing my three photos with the one photo I had clicked on.

facial2

Of course the software picks up a strong resemblance between the two identical pictures.  However, it seems my resemblance to these other two photos of me is weak.  The bar doesn’t even make it over to the green.

Yes, apparently this facial recognition software believes I look more like a bunch of celebrities than like myself.

So no, I’m not too worried about it.  Maybe the government has access to that kind of technology AND the photo database that would be needed to make use of it, but I don’t think that stuff is available to the rest of us just yet.

Is Facial Recognition a Glass Reality?

Category : Life through Glass · (1) Comment · by May 13, 2013

I’ve talked to a lot of people about Glass, and the one almost universal Glassware idea is facial recognition.  Never again feel the shame of forgetting someone’s name, etcetera, etcetera.  There are countless iterations of app ideas, but they all rely on facial recognition.

Finally, here is an app that puts this dream a step closer to reality!

Check out the demo video for MedRef for Glass:

I’m excited to try this one out.  For anyone else who wants to see it in action, the app is available at: https://medrefglass.appspot.com/