As Google gets Project Glass ready for the commercial release sometime this year, more and more people are expressing concern that their privacy is going to be affected by people using Glass. To get a glimpse of this, simply search for “Google Glass” on Google News. Some news sites link to this parody video on YouTube of a guy using the Glass to snap sneak pictures of the woman’s boobs and using search to feign interest in her likes.
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Other news sites report on politicians reactions to Project Glass which sounds remarkably similar to what that stubborn elderly man we all had to be around at one time said about smartphones or the Internet. While some of what he says is good to consider (for example to not talk or text while at the wheel, and give the people that are next to you more importance that those you talk to on Whatsapp) most of it is just the fear of the unknown talking. A good example of this is the whole CERN LHC (Large Hadron Collider) conundrum a few years ago, when people were scared of the “black-hole inducing machinery” under the Alps that will eradicate the Earth. While there actually was a real thing to be worried about regarding the experiment and being that physics’ Standard Model theory would be wrong (but not go bonkers about it neither), people instead started believing the nonsense that the Internet sometimes comes up with (you should search for conspiracy websites, some are really unintentionally funny).
Coming back, Google was aware of all this privacy scare when they designed the Glass. All recording features of the gadget are enabled by doing very obvious moves. For example, to take a picture, you must touch the touchpad near the lens, or say “Ok Glass, take a picture”. And besides that, Google made the design in contrasting colors so that you would be noticed easily when wearing it.
I mean that’s more obvious than the current shutter sound that’s played when capturing a picture with smart phones, which by the way, in some countries is illegal to be muted. I don’t see people on the Internet having problems taking pictures of stupid-looking people with their smart phone and posting them on Reddit. Having you say out loud a sentence similar to “Dude, I’m going to make a photo of the people I’m looking at right now” is certainly not done in secrecy.
Capturing video is also pretty obvious. If recording, a red LED on the front of the gadget lights up, a signal that’s been used by video cameras for decades.
I guess all the scare is associated to the fact that you are constantly aimed at by a camera lens, and even if it is not on, it still isn’t comfortable for people.
The most serious accusation that comes to Google Glass is the following scenario ripped right from a thriller movie: a guy (of course the stalker is always a guy) sitting at a cafe, spots a girl he likes a bit too much, so he snaps a picture of her, a picture that somehow is used to search for her name and find her on social networks in order to follow her activity. Yes, that’s creepy. But, while that picture search is still nowhere near reality (you may say that Facebook’s face recognition feature is, but that’s not publicly searchable by anyone), all of this can still be done with your mobile phone, and look a lot less conspicuous.
People should start thinking more openly about this. I for one, upon seeing the How it Feels clip got goosebumps at what talented people can do with these. If this will take off, imagine Google Glass as a Go Pro camera for all kinds of activities, a POV from all kinds of people, not to mention vlogging will become far more interesting.