Google Glass hangout for pre-order customers causes confusion

Google Glass team members held a "hangout" on Monday dedicated to discussion about the futuristic spectacles, but hardly anything (if anything) new was learned.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

In an attempt to promote either Google Glass or Google+ (or both), Google hosted a Hangout on Monday afternoon for anyone who pre-ordered the innovative project at I/O in June.

Several hundred project registrants signed up to participate in the video chat scheduled for July 30 at 1PM PT/4PM ET with the hopes of getting more information about the futuristic frames.

However, that didn't really turn out to be the case.

Last week, the Google Glass team sent out an email to anyone who pre-ordered the device during Google I/O at the Moscone West convention center in June.  Google Glass "explorers" were sent a copy of a Google+ post from Google co-founder Sergey Brin along with some instructions on how to get private updates about the Glass project using their Google+ accounts.

On Monday, Google Glass product manager Steve Lee and community manager Sarah Price were said to "be hopping into as many hangouts as possible" to hear feedback and ideas. Participants were then instructed to start their own Hangouts.

Yet that turned out to be a bit chaotic (as well as a bit awkward) as most participants started Hangouts and then didn't have much to discuss -- or they couldn't get into any existing chat rooms at all.

Here are a few examples of feedback from Google+ members about how the Hangout situation was handled:

Which hangout consists of Google's product managers talking about the product?  That's the only one in which I have any interest.

Two things are happening right now.
1. Hangouts are full and
2. Folks are just opening up hangout sessions and keeping it open.
Its chaos.

Hangouts full of people not saying anything, clueless like everyone else....  FAIL.   I for one expected a broadcast where we would actually learn something about this project.  We still don't have a clue what we are being offered by being in the program.  Giving feedback on something we know almost nothing about is not a very good use of time at this point.  What will we as developers be able to do with explorer edition hardware?  Can we build apps for android that communicate via bluetooth to the device?  What type of apis might be offered on the first versions?  Give us some information.

Overall, it looks like the most anyone learned was how to set up a Google+ Hangout. That still might be a positive point for Google, but it also might suggest that the Google+ team should start thinking about how to support Hangouts with massive amounts of participants rather than just a few chat rooms if they're going to plan online events like this in the future.

Some of the explorers who pre-ordered Glass at Google I/O have started to receive glass paperweights in the mail, which Google reps confirmed are imprinted with unique Glass Reference Identification numbers (a.k.a. GRID) as a way to indicate early involvement in the project. Some registrants already received the glass trinkets at I/O as well.

Beta versions of Google Glass are not expected to start shipping until early next year. Prototypes are set to cost $1,500 a pop.

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