Google’s #GlassExplorers Program Concludes January 19th

I read the news today, oh boy…

Glass Explorers Go Forth
So… what does this mean? Is Google “abandoning” their Glass device? Is Google Glass “dead?”
No. Not at all. Better yet, Glass is on to the next phase! Thanks to our feedback and efforts in Exploring, Glass 2.0 is pressing forward to evolve into its next form. According to their most recent post on Google+, “Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk. Well, we still have some work to do, but now we’re ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run.


Sayeth the Glass Team, “Since we first met, interest in wearables has exploded and today it’s one of the most exciting areas in technology. Glass at Work has been growing and we’re seeing incredible developments with Glass in the workplace. As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we’ve outgrown the lab and so we’re officially “graduating” from Google[x] to be our own team here at Google. We’re thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality. As part of this transition, we’re closing the Explorer Program so we can focus on what’s coming next. January 19 will be the last day to get the Glass Explorer Edition. In the meantime, we’re continuing to build for the future, and you’ll start to see future versions of Glass when they’re ready. (For now, no peeking.)


Can/will you still use Glass as you have the past two years?
Of course! Using my pair of Glass for good will continue for me until they cease to function. After exploring the streets of Florida and beyond, people are still very curious and excitedly fascinated by Google Glass. While at CES this year, I was very shocked to discover just how many of the 170,000 attendees (and vendors!) hadn’t either tried on Glass or even seen Glass ‘in the wild!’ So surprising! Just wait. I have a feeling V002 will be even bigger…
Explorer Program Ends
Matt Swider from TechRadar messaged some of the original Glass Explorers and asked two questions of us regarding present thoughts of the device and future expectations. The full article entitled “Google Glass 2: Here’s what actual Explorers want to see” is a great read. Below are my full answers to both questions;


1) What do you think is next for an improved Google Glass?

After seeing Sergey Brin on the floor at CES this year, literally anything is possible! I’ve read some things about a Glass contact lens but I’m not sure that’s the next step for Google… yet.

In my mind, an improved Google Glass device would include a modular prism suitable for the left AND right eye. Possibly a prism above both eyes to allow for a wider field of view.I’d also tweak the voice dictation a little more. The microphone is surprisingly great in most environments, even noisy ones, but there’s always room for improvement. For those times, I’d love to see a basic keyboard option in the MyGlass app – maybe even some sort of air keyboard.

A huge improvement for Glass would be the ability to fold them up. As the device is now, there’s no other way to store it other than putting Glass on your head, carrying around a large microfiber bag with little protection or a larger, reinforced case. This becomes a particular challenge when using the sunglasses accessory or the prescription lenses. Not only is the user trying to protect the integrity of the device but also the safety of the accessory.

In the same vein, weatherproofing Glass is also needed. Where I realize making the device waterproof may not be viable, weatherproofing it would be a welcome middle ground. I live in Florida where it’s mostly warm and quite humid year round. As part of the Glass Explorer program, I’ve had a grand total of six devices and all three of the XE series. Half of those replacements were due to software issues but the other half were hardware related, being mainly the foil on the side of Glass’s prism; either it bubbled or simply flaked off. Without the foil in place, seeing the projection display is very difficult, and in extreme cases, impossible.

2) Look back: What did Google Glass Explorer Edition help you do most?

Being a Google Glass Explorer helped me share a little of my world with the rest of the planet. I’m not a developer. I’m not a celebrity with a large platform. I’m one person, who lives in one town, in one country on planet Earth.What I think Glass helped me do the most was challenge people to think beyond the tech and examine how a device like this could help others in their community, family, social circles and more. Perhaps I inspired someone to get more involved locally through volunteerism or abroad via voluntourism? Maybe something I posted encouraged someone to just pay attention? Regardless of the hows, the whys and whats are the win.

When Google invited me to be a Glass Explorer (via Twitter of all things), I had no idea what to expect. Not being a developer, I was very excited and a little shocked to even be a consideration. And hats off to the Google Glass Guides and Glass Team! They never once made me feel insignificant or lesser because of this. With every phone call, every visit to a basecamp, every email; I have always felt like a valuable member of the original Glass Explorer team. Any time I had equipment issues, a replacement arrived on my doorstep virtually overnight. If this kind of high quality customer experience continues through to the next generation of Glass, any hiccups that may happen will certainly be eclipsed,

My goal with Glass from the beginning was a project I called #Glass4good, now #Wearables4good. Through Glass I would share what I normally do in and around my community (volunteering, working as part of Florida’s film and tv industry, covering events, etc) with the hope of inspiring others to do the same in their communities. Almost two years later I’m still regularly sharing (and hopefully) still inspiring others to get and stay involved, whether it’s #throughglass or otherwise.

TechSquad Credits

Our award-winning short film #TechSquad went international! Click this image to watch it!



#Glass4good is now #Wearables4good!

Greetings all! Jen here. I’ve got some news…


Alicia, Bun and Jen during the #RelaySocial Lap at Relay For Life of Hunter’s Creek 2013

Short answer: Is this the end of the cause? NO. Not at all. In fact, thanks to some great people out there… we’re GROWING!

Long (no, really, LONG) answer: For the past year I have been exploring the Central Florida community (and beyond!) through Google Glass, as one of the world’s first Glass Explorers. It’s been A BLAST. I have met many cool, curious people and taken tons of random reaction shots in that time. Some are GREAT, some are only slightly embarassing.

In a year and four months’  time I have never had a single ‘negative‘ experience with the device, like the ones the media likes to report. No Sarah Slocum ‘bar brawls,’ no Daily Show run-ins; although I was told to stow the device when visiting The Colbert Report in April.

The only even remotely ‘negative’ (if you can even call it that?) experience I’ve encountered was with another Explorer, a self-proclaimedsociopath.” Which further proves a theory I’ve had since day one of my involvement with Project Glass; Perception of Glass will have every bit to do with the personality of the device wearer over the device itself. True, “reasonable expectation of privacy” went out the window with the original iPhone, possibly even earlier. However, to be factually blunt, a jerk will always be a jerk.

I have had a few ‘indifferent‘ experiences, in that, some may have feared what they did not know, but they were inquisitive enough to find out more without casting a harsh stone in my direction. Taking the time to explain how the device worked, and going one step further to explain what actions (voice, touchpad and button commands) to look for when a device is ‘on’ surely quelled even the most suspicious party… and even got them a little more curious.

Unintentional #GlassSelfie?

Blogger tour of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (wearer: Ricky Ly of

These impromptu demonstrations would happen no matter where I went and (other than being en route to the restroom) I was, and still am, happy to show people how Glass works. [And no, I do not work for Google. I wish I made a Google-size salary though.]

Because of my already active community status, these daily demonstrations quickly opened the door to guest speaking opportunities and group demonstrations via lunch and learns, conventions, staff meetings, public presentations, non-profit events and more. It’s been like a live and in-person Twitter stream at times! Hundreds, thousands of conversations overlapping and open.

I’ve been interviewed quite a bit about Glass; my thoughts about Glass, my experience with the device and so on. Our 48 Hour Film Project team even used the device in our city-winning short film last year, TechSquad! I’ve even been recognized for my efforts with #Glass4good via TechRepublic, Carpathia’s Tech Hero/Heroine program and was a finalist in this year’s Shorty Awards.

48 Hour Film Project Orlando 2013

My question was: Why do people even care about my experience with Glass? I’m not a developer or programmer. I produce television and short films. I’m a creative, not a coder! Answer? Perception of the wearer. Well, that’s the only answer I can quantify at this point anyway. I’m a nice person. (Or try to be most of the time.) Being a Glass Explorer opened doors, provoked conversation AND action in others and kept me going during some of the lowest parts of my life; unemployment, my mom’s second cancer diagnosis and more.

I must note the interesting social experiment I’ve unofficially conducted since getting the (prescription) Bold Frame accessory in May. When in public, I would get interesting looks wearing Glass as most people are used to seeing them in the media. Having an orange (ahem, ‘tangerine‘) device on my face got people curious for sure, and quickly replaced the archetypal name tag.

When I started wearing the frame accessory, this view did a surprising 180. People still recognized something, but it’s almost like the Google Glass became secondary. Most people I encountered didn’t realize Glass had an option for prescription wearers. While it was still a topic of conversation 7-8 times out of every 10 interactions, it seemed to come across as less intrusive… less creeper looking. Honestly, I totally feel like Clark Kent when I wear them now. Just add fedora! (Nevermind that Clark’s are a little closer to the Curve Frames.)

TechSquad at Otronicon (Orlando Science Center)

All told, my Glass Explorer experience has indeed been a FUN and socially educational one! So does this mean I’m hanging up my Google Glass? NOT at all. I’m not done covering events or using my #Glass4good causes. I still love my Glass and wear them often. I’m simply opening up the field to other devices (wearable and not) and applications! More good reporting and sharing… and we’re hoping more often.

This blog and journey would cease to exist without the 35 people who were so kind to me last April and helped make #Glass4good even possible. I owe it to them – not to mention the local and global community – to continue and grow.

To new friends, followers and readers, I thank you for following this blog. Our work here is NOT done. Stay tuned….

#Glass4good: Fighting for Florida’s Entertainent Incentives

Film Florida, in partnership with IDEAS Orlando, produced a series of filmmaker small vignettes regarding Florida’s film and entertainment industry. Jen recorded her thoughts too. She will be supporting the industry #throughglass alongside her fellow Women in Film and Television Florida Board Members and Florida filmmakers at the Rally in Tally.

Please help support Florida HB983 & SB1640 by contacting your local legislature. Please join #Glass4good Florida & Film Florida at the Rally in Tally on Wednesday, March 26th.

On Twitter, please follow @FilmFlorida for up-to-date information on both bills, and use the hashtag #EntertainThis.


Help #KeepGoodGoing in 2014: Nominate Jen for The Shorty Awards!

Got a minute? Please vote for Jen for New York Life‘s #KeepGoodGoing Award in this year’s Shorty Awards!

Current position (thanks to all of you): 8th Place! 

Nominate Jen Vargas for a social media award in the Shorty Awards! Nominate Jen Vargas for a social media award in the Shorty Awards
We thank you very much in advance for your consideration and vote!