The above image is of Stephen Balaba, a very talented 24-year-old developer who works at Lambda Labs. You might not have heard of Lambda Labs, they’re a company that works on commercial facial recognition software, and even developed face recognition software for Glass. Then Google pulled the plug and banned facial recognition software on Glass, much like they did porn apps. The search giant is trying their best to keep the development of Glass in check, to keep the balance between new and exciting technology and privacy concerns. Regardless of how you feel about Glass, there is genuine cause for concern, and Google is keen to keep things balanced, to keep Glass a platform that people can trust, and not something that becomes the domain of hackers.
Balaba certainly isn’t your traditional hacker but, he may soon become a serious problem for Google and Project Glass as he’s working on his own alternative OS for Glass that’s “not controlled by Google”, as Business Insider reports. It’s difficult for Google to try and keep a lid on Glass, after all they’ve given developers all the tools they need – including easy “root” access – and they know that without developers Glass could quite easily become a commercial flop.
It’s hard not to bring Android into the conversation here, as we all know that Android is Open Source and most of you reading this could be doing so with custom software. The difference is that the model for Android is pretty standard, there’s not much you can do to Android that Google don’t want you to do. For instance, CyanogenMod is a marvel of software engineering but, it’s not as far removed from Android as you might think. Glass, on the other hand, is still a product that’s growing, that’s still being worked on and if it falls out of Google’s control now, it could raise serious issues later on.
Imagine an OS platform that gives people complete and unfettered access to Glass, without Google ever knowing what you’re doing with it. Porn apps would be rife, and software that raises privacy alarm bells would be easily applied to the device. It’s certainly not an ideal situation for Google but, we have to wonder what they can do about it. Obviously such an OS is still in the early stages and little is known about it but, the idea of Glass falling out of Google’s tight grip is probably scary enough for them.