I’m sure we’ve all heard of Google Glass by now, but if you haven’t, it’s basically a computer that can be worn on your face. It has the capability of reflecting projected images while allowing the person to still be able to see through the lenses. You can take photos and short videos with voice commands, along with features like asking for directions and actually seeing the map. On April 4, 2012, the concept of these glasses was introduced on a Google+ page. Google named the project for research and development of these augmented reality glasses, Project Glass. The video below from the official Google Glass page shows how the eyewear can potentially be utilized.
A few thousand pairs have been set out into the wild by Google, for testing purposes of course. Though they still remain unavailable for people to purchase, these Google Glasses are already creating somewhat of a negative reputation for themselves. It seems as if there are some major concerns being raised about the intrusion of people’s privacy. Breaching a person’s privacy is a big deal and can cause many issues to arise. Recording people without their permission could easily bring up debate about the use of this device in public, from an ethical standpoint.
In an article, on NY Times’ Bits Blogs, Nick Bilton tells a personal story about his experience at a Google developer conference he recently attended, and how he eventually felt like he was running from the Glass-wearers instead of associating with them.
“My world came screeching to a halt. There they were, a handful of people wearing Google Glass, now standing next to me at their own urinals, peering their head from side to side, blinking or winking, as they relieved themselves.”
Wow. That had to be one of the most uncomfortable things to be involved with. Huge supporters of privacy are also concerned that Glass-wearers will somehow be able to record and broadcast private conversations amongst strangers, and even possibly be able to identify random strangers using facial recognition properties within the eyewear. These privacy scares have already persuaded a few companies post anti-Google Glass signs in their establishments.
This past March, the 5 Point Cafe, a dive bar and restaurant located in Seattle, was the first business to ban Google Glass in advance. Once these glasses hit the market for sale, they will no longer be allowed in due to the fact that customers go there to not be recognized, which these glasses could obstruct. The bar owner, Dave Meinert, posted a humorous status update on their Facebook page that received over 150 comments of praise and criticism.
“For the record, The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses. And ass kickings will be encouraged for violators.”
These augmented-reality glasses are said to possibly be released for sale in 2014, though, I’m not sure if anyone seems to be really positive on that. Regardless, I’m sure there will be more and more businesses like the bar mentioned above who will eventually ban these glasses to protect the privacy rights of their customers. I guess we’ll see!