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Is Google Glass worth owning?

This May 15, 2013 file shows Google Glasses displayed in San Francisco. Google has a challenge for U.S. nonprofits. On Tuesday, the tech giant is asking nonprofit groups to propose ideas for how to use the Web-connected eyewear Google Glass in their work. Five charities that propose the best ideas by May 20 will get a free pair of the glasses, a trip to Google for training and a $25,000 grant to help make their project a reality. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

I missed the one day sale on Google Glass. Do you know when they will be available to the general public? What have you found them useful for? - Troy

Google Glass is essentially a development project that was initially released on an invitation-only basis to help develop use cases for the platform. Until this has been accomplished, the prospects of them being released to the general public are pretty low.

Unlike smartphones and tablets that had a clear utility when they were released, Google Glass is a totally new technology interface that's in search of its true value and purpose.

At the moment, it's a smartphone on your face that can be used with or without touching it to send messages, make phone calls, take pictures and videos and a lot of other things that you routinely do on your smartphone.

While this novelty is pretty cool, the first time you experience it, it's not nearly enough to become the next iPhone or iPad or to even justify its existence, for that matter.

In fact, in order to maximize its usage, you must tether it to your existing smartphone via Bluetooth, so it's far from a wearable replacement for your smartphone.

Google purposely had a high cost ($1500) to become an "Explorer" because they only wanted serious software developers and users that were passionate about exploring its uses during this development stage.

When (and if) it becomes a retail product, you can expect the price to be lower. When this will occur and what the lower price will be is anyone's guess (my guess is still expensive and not any time soon).

The real key to what happens with Glass will rely heavily on the apps (called Glassware) that are developed specifically for the device. At the moment, the official Google Glassware page only lists 65 apps, but lots of others are being developed outside of Google's ecosystem.

I've been working with Glass for about sven months and I've found it to be useful in both my personal and professional activities.

On the personal side, I'm an avid hiker that also loves to take pictures and videos of the areas that I visit, so the form factor of Glass is really spectacular.

In the past, when I wanted to capture a vista or botanical specimen, I would have to stop, pull out my smartphone, unlock the smartphone, open the camera app, snap the image, view the image, lock down my phone, put it back where I was storing it and continue my hike.

With Glass, I can just tap on the side or raise my head up about 30 degrees to wake them up and say "OK, Glass. Take a picture' or ‘Record a video' even in stride, if I want.

This slight change in how I take pictures has allowed me to document so much more without having to start and stop every time I see something of interest.

As a frequent traveler to relatively unfamiliar cities, turn-by-turn walking directions and an app called "Field Trip" have been a great help. Field Trip taps into hyper-local experts to alert you to local history, insider finds, design, architecture and lots of other points of interest based on your location.

I actually think that Glass will have a much wider use and value in the business community. Everything from augmented reality medical apps, to real-time data during a meeting to hands-free QR or barcode readers are just the beginning.

Creating inexpensive training videos from the first-person perspective, for instance, has already seen some traction (including at our company) and documenting client interactions that can later be shared with others is being experimented with in various businesses, including law firms.

Google Glass is far from being a fully-baked product and nowhere near ready for prime time, but if you really want to try to become an Explorer, you can register to be considered here.

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