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Novelist Shteyngart Reflects On Google Glass Experience Tweet This   Forward This

29 July 2013

The New Yorker has published O.K., Glass, Confessions of a Google Glass Explorer by Gary Shteyngart, author of the novel Super Sad True Love Story. Shteyngart reports from the field on what it's like to wearing Google Glass all day.

My novel -- a love story between Lenny, an aging son of a Russian immigrant and the last book reader on earth, and Eunice, a younger, fully digital Korean-American woman -- proved prescient all too quickly. New York City parks occupied by protesting ninety-nine-per-centers, transparent women's clothing, and a general giddy sense that privacy is kind of stupid -- all became reality right after Super Sad's publication, making me feel like a very limited Nostradamus, the Nostradamus of two weeks from now.

So Google invited him to join its Glass Explorers program earlier this year. That involved $1,500 plus tax (paid for by his publisher) and a mimosa at Glass Explorer Basecamp.

I was told how to talk to my new friend, each command initiated with the somewhat resigned "O.K., Glass."

There's also touch-pad commands on the frame. But that's all Shteyngart needed before he set out to explore the city through a new lens.

While he found video recording it's "most interesting and controversial feature," Shteyngart said the best part of wearing Glass "has been recording the response it elicits in others."

The piece actually begins with several such anecdotes. And it goes full circle when he swaps identities with Aray, another Explorer, in a Google hangout.

I see what she sees through her Glass, which is me. She sees what I see through my Glass, which is her. We bring our faces closer, as if approaching a mirror, but the feeling is more akin to being trapped in an early Spike Jonze movie or thrust into an unholy Vulcan mind meld.

For the first time, Aray is not seamlessly woven into her technology. "I'm not going to lie," she says. "It's a little freaky." We give each other a hug as we part.

The end is a little gruesome but it's an amusing alternative to the usual review. Bravo!

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