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Since its inception, Google's new, hot-shot piece of wearable technology, Google Glass, has sparked both wonder and controversy to tech heads and average Joe's alike. Like the already existing smart phone, the Google Glass is like something out of science fiction. With its ability to put the internet right before your eyes, as well as record video and images, this ground-breaking invention has the ability to change society as we know it. However, it also has the potential to stoke the firestorm issue of personal privacy that plagues the 21st century.

This device can deliver GPS maps, internet searches, and a whole host of programs from sports to exploration- all displayed on a thin, glass frame worn as a pair of glasses. It was clearly made for people on the move, and including unusual programs such as World Lens which allows you to read signs in other languages, while programs such as SwingByte, that can help your golf game with data and even coaching. And this is just the beginning. So what could possibly be wrong?google videos

The issues revolve around 2 major dilemmas, the first being distraction and the worst being privacy. The hands-free ability to search and record online makes some people nervous about public safety, and the right to privacy with good reason. Since Google Glass represents such a huge leap in technology applications, a lot of social issues involving the device haven't been explored yet. Google even used the term “glass hole” in a do's and don'ts page they posted to their website, teaching its customers proper Glass etiquette.google camera

Several states in the U.S. are outlawing the use of Google Glass, and other technologies like it, while a wearer is driving. Many believe that this form of wireless headset will create a major distraction for a person behind the wheel. The state of New York has banned people from wearing them altogether, until its Department of Motor Vehicles can find a way to regulate its use while a person is driving.

On the other hand, Google has been fighting these regulations, lobbying hard against such bans, and has several important companies and manufaturers backing them up. Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea's largest automaker, will even include an app designed to sync Glass with its 2015 model Genesis Sedan. Even Richard Bennett, a scholar and co-founder of Wi-Fi, suggested at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute that “Driving is certainly one of the premier applications for Glass”. In short, he believes the device could even help people drive better.google navigate

In addition to this, there has been research that suggests Google Glass is far less distracting than Smartphones, and may even help drivers avoid hazards. Also, the fact that the device is worn directly on the face prevents drivers from constantly looking down, as they must with a cell phone. It has also been suggested that apps could help the wearer regulate speed and monitor drowsiness.

Thus far, the largest amount of information about Google Glass's effect on society has come from the blooming, tech-savvy city of San Francisco. Issues of privacy have come up in San Fransico's many bars and coffee shops, where Glass wearers often frequent.

“Our patrons have expressed concern with being recorded while enjoying themselves at the Willows,” read a sign outside the popular watering hole. The owner even suggests that many guests aren't comfortable with others wearing a device that could so easily capture and publish, their shenanigans at the bar. After all, nobody wants to be filmed at last call after getting birthday drunk!

glass modelThough there always is the possibility of being filmed or photographed by some stranger’s Google Glass, it isn't the only culprit that could invade your privacy. Author and blogger Robert Scoble has had a pair since April, he insists any run-of-the-mill cell phone is far more intrusive than Google Glass. In fact, he Insists that phones can be much more easily concealed, and it's the concealed technology you should be concerned about.

“People walk in the bathroom with their cell phone in their hand all the time, and that's far more intrusive. With my Google Glass, I have to stand next to you and look at you. And then, I either have to touch my glasses or say 'Google Glass, take a picture'” said Scoble.

Another author, New York's Gary Shteyngart, imagined a devise similar to the Google Glass in his 2011 book entitled Super Sad Super True Story. In this science fiction story everyone wears a computer on a pendant, that tells them everything about everyone they come across. But when Shteyngart tried Google Glass last year, it didn't quite live up to what he imagined. “You can't look at someone and have it use facial recognition software to know who they are, how much they're worth and everything about them, just by blinking. So far though, Google Glass isn't as scary as I hoped it would be, for my own, dystopian purposes.”glass fashion week

Some believe the controversy is merely friction between the haves and have-nots. The price right now is set to $1,500 a pair, a very large price tag for a small pair of specs, which could also make the wearer subject to a robbery or theft. It seems petty, but jealousy has to be taken into account when dealing with social issues- unfortunately, it's a real thing.

Whatever comes from the Google Glass phenomenon, one thing is for sure- technology is always going to be changing, getting better and more efficient. With new gadgets connecting us to the massive, digital world of the internet, many changes in the way we each interact will certainly come along.

It may be a smooth transition, it may not. As the future arrives, we might just need to forge ahead as we always have, and figure it out as we go.

Want to join the Glass Explorer Program and help shape the future of Glass?

If you're a US resident with a US shipping address, over 18 years old, and are interested in joining the open beta, you can purchase Glass below, or you can visit us for a demo at one of our Basecamps in San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York. Check it out here!

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 165 - September 5277
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