Life as a Google Glass Explorer

Second Story has recently gotten its hands on a Google Glass. In order to improve our knowledge about heads-up displays, we decided to let whoever was interested use Glass for a day.

We all expected the full “gadget” potential of Glass: map navigation, the ability to search for specific information, even the opportunity to play target-practice games. This gave plentiful insight into the user experience, the effectiveness of the technology, and its responsiveness. But there was another perspective we discovered: what is Google Glass like as a creative tool?


One of the most natural things to do with Google Glass is to capture pictures and video, creating photographs of what the user is seeing at eye-level. If you get really keen with Glass, you can do this discreetly just by winking your eye—which has its own uncomfortable implications. Looking through a day’s worth of Glass-ing is strangely insightful; when taking a picture, you have essentially zero control over your ability to adjust lighting, composition, or even the exact moment at which the picture is taken. With all of the foundations of photography at a loss, what you are left with is a pure moment, an experience captured with minimal intervention.


The trend of point-of-view photography is hot right now, mostly due to the accessible prices of the GoPro. Glass is aware of this potential as well, advertising with footage of acrobats falling into each other’s arms, pilots doing barrel rolls, and people roaring down roller coasters. For those of us who live slightly less action-packed lives, are we able to create thoughtful—or thoughtless—photography without depending on a “Wow” factor? As first-hand Glass photographers, we began finding profundity in the ordinary.


The ability to capture point-of-view photography in a user’s mundane day has the power to change the way we see the world and the way the world sees us. We are not only able to tell a story literally as we see it, but we get to share the parts of our everyday that are notable not for their aesthetic beauty but for their essence of the moment. Whether or not that moment is worth photographing is up to the creator, as we become inspired by experiences we are living as opposed to scenes we want to compose.

Glass also changes the way in which we photograph subjects. Without having a physical camera held between you, the photographer is able to both act in and direct the photograph. Instead of the subject gazing into a device, they are looking into the eyes of the photographer, adding an additional level to the story. What is the subject reacting to? What is the relationship between the subject and the Glass-wearer?


We like to imagine how Glass will change the way we consume and tell stories. As Makers and amateur Glass photographers, we see this technology as a way to create with more intimacy and less interruption, blurring the lines between moments we have lived and moments we have observed.

— Kirsten Southwell, Experience Designer

Glass photography by Kirsten Southwell, Norman Lau, and Dimitrii Pokrovskii.


Second Story creates enchanting, informative, and entertaining media experiences with innovative technologies that empower connections to ideas.

Posted in Culture, Technology