Latest in our series on living with Google Glass. Aaron Kasten is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for bleeding-edge technology. He's the founder of AndroidSWAG and the Big Android BBQ, and his latest venture is Winklogic, an app developer focused on wearables.

How Google Glass led to my latest business venture

Aaron KastenI felt the Lewis Carroll “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There” reference was appropriate. I may not have had Glass as long as many, becoming an Explorer in September, but my day-to-day life hasn’t been the same since that day I journeyed “Through the Looking-Glass.” 

I was at Google I/O that fateful day as thousands of attendees lined up to get first dibs on this crazy new device. We’d just seen somebody jump out of a plane, land on a roof, scale a building, and bike into the auditorium with this incredible piece of tech, all while streaming video for us to enjoy a first person view. Unfortunately at the time Glass was a bit out of my budget, and as a result I was not in the early round of explorers.

My good friend and (now business partner) Matt Abdou was there as well and had purchased Glass. I happened to be visiting when he went to pick Glass up at the Google campus in Mountain View, so I tagged along as his guest.

That day changed both of our lives.

... and Winkfeed was born

While walking around Google with his “Glass Guide” discussing all the cool things it could do, not much compared to now, taking turns playing around with the device, He mentioned how nice it would be to have an RSS feed sent to Glass. I blurted out “Yeah! You could call it Winkfeed! Because, you know, it’s only over one eye, and maybe someday we’ll be able to provide some control with eye gestures!” The guide flipped out over the idea, we all loved the name, and Matt thought he could build it with the fledgling Mirror API.

A few minutes with Google Glass barely scratches the surface of its potential impact on your life.

Fast forward to September. Matt has built an early proof of concept for Winkfeed, we’ve decided we want to see where we can take it, and we add the incredible designer Asher Simonds to our team to make everything look beautiful. Now Asher and I really need to get our hands on this amazing tech if we are going to try to make a business out of it, so I finally get an invite and purchase Glass.

I thought I knew all about Glass, I thought I understood the impact it would have on my life. I’d only worn it for a few minutes but I thought that was enough. I was wrong. I understood the basics but until you wear glass for days or even weeks it’s difficult to fully grasp how substantial an impact it can have on your day-to-day life.

Different reactions to Glass in different parts of the country

I’m not going to go into too much detail about the social aspects of Glass. I think the previous “Through Glass” columns here have covered that well enough. I will say it varies drastically by state or region of the country. When in New York we were constantly stopped and asked about Glass. Normally we all love doing Glass demos, but in New York we were stopped so often and had to spend so long with people that it reached the point of annoyance. Interrupting somebody who is already speaking to another person is rude and people should stop doing it.

The San Francisco Bay Area of California is similar although not quite as bad, likely because Glass seems to be significantly more common out there. In Texas, where I live, things are very different. I like to say Texans are some of the few people who still maintain good manners. We hold doors open for each other, we say please and thank you, excuse me, yes ma'am and no sir. When I wear Glass around locally I get a few odd glances from time to time, and if I am having a conversation with somebody they will ask me about it. I’ve noticed if I break the ice pretty much everyone loves to talk about it. Otherwise nobody says anything and I have never been the recipient of long awkward stares. Most importantly nobody has ever run up to me to ask about Glass while I am in the middle of a conversation with another person.

Android Central Podcast Vignette

I wear Glass daily. I’ve stopped using my web-based RSS reader and now consume all of my news directly through Glass using Winkfeed. Or if I save something to read later I’ll use Pocket. I get updates on a schedule I set, and headlines arrive in bundles or individually if no other updates are available. I’ve discovered some awesome things I can do with this. Watching the Android Central Podcast on Glass the other day while I did chores around the house was pretty amazing.

With Google Glass, you get bite-sized pieces of information — and it's far safer to use in a car than you think.

Driving with Glass directions is a fantastic experience, and I think Glass is the safest device for navigation in the car. Should you be texting and reading emails using Glass while driving? Of course not! I don’t think anyone thinks that is actually a good idea. That said, Glass currently has no text input method, so even if you did want to send a response to somebody you have to speak, and you can do so fairly easily. I don’t recommend it, but I believe it’s got to be safer than picking up a phone holding it below the dash and trying to be sneaky and send a text without getting caught.

If people are going to insist on behaving badly and endangering others, don’t punish the technology that allows them to be stupid in the safest way. Especially if there is significant value in that technology saving lives by eliminating other dangers like taking your eye off the road to change a radio station or look at navigation. I suspect there are many people already working on heads up driving displays for Glass. Imagine you don’t have to glance down to view your speed, gas mileage, RPM, or even the direction you are headed!

Happy Holidays

This is only the beginning ...

I’ll wrap this up with one of my favorite things about glass and one of the features often overlooked. Vignettes! I see so much potential here. We’ve seen people just starting to take advantage of this feature. It’s like adding a caption to your photos. The Holiday Vignette series is a great start but is just the tip of the iceberg. You can take a picture of a delicious dinner with the recipe in the corner of the photo. You can take a photo of your holiday decorations with a big HAPPY HOLIDAYS image in the top corner. 

VignetteI even used vignette to show Phil I was watching his pretty face while doing housework. Photos are very personal and the vignette feature allows to make them even more personal or to personalize them for whoever you are sharing the photo with.

Glass still has a lot of growing up to do. I’m betting on it’s success with time and money by starting one of the first companies built around the technology. For mass adoption I think the price needs to come WAY down, $349 would be the sweet spot in my opinion. I think the design is solid but will likely be improved, and battery life needs drastic improvements.

I’m excited for the future of Glass and look forward to being a part of this amazing young ecosystem.

Feel free to ask me anything on Google+. Join the Winkfeed Community if you want to talk about the app, and circle WinkLogic to find out what our future plans are.

And keep exploring.

More from our Through Glass series ...

There are 18 comments

Thank you for the "Through the Looking-Glass" reference, more people should know there is a sequel/extension of the first book. I agree, Glass will need to be cheaper but at the moment it's aimed more at developers to make things like Winkfeed so consumers and general public will see some point in buying it and want it. This does mean those with less cash burning a hole in their pocket will have to wait though.

Posted via Android Central App on my Motorola XT890 RAZR i

El Platanero says:

I'm not seeing the point to these just yet. I love the innovation. I just feel like it's kissing something. Video after video on YouTube and I'm still not totally convinced.

Posted via Android Central App

jcg5862 says:

Agreed. Even at $349, not for me. I really don't see this selling millions to the masses like phones. I'm certainly not a technophobe but just don't see crowds walking around with this on their heads. I see it pulling people further away from face to face communication. Folks already have their faces stuck in phones too often. If you're going to talk to me then do exactly that.

Posted via Android Central App on my Moto X

Anyone caught driving with glass on should be given a mandatory ticket.

Posted via Android Central App

A895 says:

In found nothing of such a thing.

Posted Via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App

Did text prediction strike? Your sentence makes no sense...

Posted via Android Central App on my Motorola XT890 RAZR i


No, the hangover strikes again!!

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

A895 says:

I found nothing of the sort.

Posted Via VZW Moto X on the Android Central App

That makes much more sense, thank you for the translation.

Posted via Android Central App on my Motorola XT890 RAZR i


This is a great writeup. I can't wait for Glass to go mainstream. 349 would be a great price, and by the time of release, it'll be several times better, I'm sure.

Now, queue the whining, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

I have a great app idea for Glass/Cars. Too bad I'd never be able to do anything with it. Lol

Posted via Android Central App

annahid says:

I agree the current price of Glass is a bit repellent. At least for me :)

jackwagon06 says:

Great series. Another great written article about something AC readers can be interested in, whether you have tried them or not. I agree the price point is way to high, but yet I was lucky enough to get an invite, and yes I bought them. With that said, 3 weeks into ownership, I am returning them. Google has been great through the whole process. Beginning to end. The way a company should be. And I don't even own a nexus!
Reasons? I don't prefer the one eye screen. I would like it much better with a screen for each eye. All the hardware is on the right side, thus it feels ackward, even though it isnt.
You can only sign in with 1 Gmail account at a time. That doesn't work for me, with work and personal.
Besides the social aspect here in New England, they are not socially appreciated yet. You are looked at kinda freakishly. That really doesnt bother me, it just makes it difficult to go about your day to day. I agree that the best feature of glass is the navigation, which IMO is safer than any other form of nav. Makes me wish I had a HUD for nav in car. But with the temptation to sms, read emails, etc, that's a no no while driving.
I can't wait to see the consumer version. As it is now, it's just not there yet, for me at least.
Just a few thoughts, and of course they are all mine. I hope others get the chance to decide for themselves.

Posted via Android Central App

twolastnames says:

I still think the awkward social stares are made up in people's heads. I don't see wearing glass as any more awkward than wearing over the ear headphones out in public the first time, styling your hair different, or just being in a part of town dominated by a different race than your own. You think everyone is looking, but in reality only a few people care. Your not exactly running down the street naked, twig and berries flopping all over place. I do live in Nebraska, and like Texas we still have manners and for the most part don't care about people who are different.

I find it interesting that the most "tolerant" places seem to be the worst places to wear glass. Reaffirms some things I've always thought about the tolerant police.

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jackwagon06 says:

Are you sure I'm not the guy with me twigs and berries flopping? Lol, seriously, not that people aren't tolerant, as I haven't had any issues people thinking I'm taking their pic or anything. What I meant was that people ask alot of questions, besides stare, and your just trying to do your thing, you know? It's like me stopping and asking about your cell phone. Everyone has one so it's no big deal. Glass, not everyone does....that's all.

Posted via Android Central App

Great write-up!.... I will be getting my hands on a google glass as well and I will be documenting my time with it over at

jedi105 says:

Yet another irresponsible post about driving distracted. yes, I get it that the point was that with Glass you didnt have to take your eyes off the road for navigation or whatever but that is a bit disingenuous. Even though you are wearing it and the display is in your field of vision, you still have to focus your eye and your MIND to reading or interpreting the directions. This is a distraction no matter how you candy coat it. And being distracted while piloting a 2000 lb plus hunk of steel is too dangerous. I get it that you think it is less distracting than a typical indash or dash mount navigation device but I would say the bigger screens and the louder turn by turn directions alleviate the distraction a bit than trying to look through a tiny little screen. Yes, I get that the screen "feels" like you are viewing a much larger screen but that is just a trick of perception, which I will add, is another function your brain will be doing while driving. It is my humble opinion that car manufacturers should be the ones to make policy here. I think they should install some sort of device in all cars that disable smart phones for anything other than hands free emergency phone calls and navigation. Yes, even for your passengers. Its just too risky to have such in your face technology present and active while you are supposed to be driving. It is too much of a temptation to "quickly" answer that text about your anniversary dinner tonight. And I dont care who you are, everyone has sent a text while driving. You can lie to yourself saying that you were stopped at a light but you know its true. As many people as I pass on the road trying to "hide" their phone by holding it below the drivers window line makes it clear that it is a much bigger problem than most people realize or want to admit to. Those drivers dont realize that others in higher vehicles can still see you.

No, my answer is if google really wants to do something for in vehicle turn by turn navigation, then they need to dedicate more resources to full screen heads up displays in the vehicle. A see through image that is superimposed over the windscreen of the car that you dont have to even think about. That to me would be less distracting than reading the signs posted on the side of the road as you pass them at whatever speed you are going.

As for Glass itself, I have had the opportunity to use it first hand (a friend of a friend of a friend was able to pony up the 1500 developer cost) and while I say it is very cool, I just dont see it being all that important. Not yet. And I certainly dont see the need to record every waking moment of my life. Privacy is also an issue that needs to be addressed (not that I care if someone is taking my picture or anything but I can see why others would find that disconcerting). No, I see Glass more as a law enforcement tool (cops recording every second of every arrest to prove that they didnt use excessive force or even prevent the use of excessive force) or for extreme sports where the use of an action cam just isnt feasible.