Google Glass is at the forefront of what I’m predicting to be a new turn into an explosion of wearable technology. The Google Glass is a lightweight frame equipped with a hidden camera and tiny corner display that responds to voice commands. It could be described as the Internet layered on top of augmented reality. Literarily, it’s an eyeglass display with facial recognition. It also gives directions as you walk and takes video from your point of view. Because eye movements are largely subconscious, Glass will quickly learn a significant amount of information that you probably don’t realize about yourself. It can collect, send and receive information when you’re not thinking about it. There’s no clicking or swiping which eliminates that brief second of choice. When information is rapidly collected, it destroys Glass users’ control over the personal information that we may or may not choose to share. The Google Glass project began about three years ago by engineer Babk Parviz as part of the Google X Lab initiative. Google Glass is currently available to developers who have paid $1,500 for the prototype. Programmers are being taught how to develop applications for the headset through the Glass Explorer program, so there will be an ecosystem in place before the product is publicly launched next year.
The transition into Glass essentially allows a device to access a new level of data collecting and processing. The idea of bringing technology closer to your senses and seamless with your body will cause yet more human adaption to technolgy. Last year, wearable technology including anything from hearing aids to wristband pedometers totaled $9 billion in commercial sales. Retail analysts believe by 2018 that number will triple.
This is the beginning of the wearable technolgy debate on privacy issues. In May, the House Bipartisan Privacy Caucus wrote Google a letter asking for more information about how Google Glass will work within the company’s privacy standards. Last month, 10 privacy regulators from around the world, including Canada, Australia and a European Commission panel asked Google for more information on how the company’s headset complies with their data protection laws and what data it collects.
We had an opportunity to take a look at the Google Glass’ pros and cons.