Google Glass Review, Privacy, Social Acceptance, & Legal Factors

We don’t allow cameras inside the mall. Please leave it at the security counter and collect it while leaving“! But it is just glass – the Google augmented reality glass! It does have a recording facility and most malls and theaters won’t allow you in if you are wearing Google Glasses… What could be the negative effects of Google Glasses, what would the social acceptance factors or in other words – how welcome will it get from the society! Would we need additional laws when more and more people shift to Google Glasses? We have heard and read about many good features of Google Glass, that make us (at least, me) think we should own one. This article/review is more of a discussion regarding the possible negative effects of Google Glasses, its social acceptance and whether new laws would be required.

google glass Google Glass Review, Privacy, Social Acceptance, & Legal Factors

Legal Aspects – Google Glass On The Road

“Don’t Text While Driving”! You must have seen this line everywhere. In many countries, it is illegal to use cellphones while driving as it not only risks the drivers’ lives, but also the lives of others on the road. But Google Glasses are hands-free? But won’t they provide the same or even more distraction levels while driving – or even when walking? How many times did you find yourself almost crashing into others – texting and walking at the same time? I almost came under a bus once. And for the next few minutes, I was the target of people (including the driver) shouting at me.

With Google Glasses, your focus would more be on things you are doing with the glass rather than on driving safety or even walking on the pavement! Maybe you are chatting, taking pictures, recording, reviewing images/text or simply checking out map of that area. Anything other than the road is a good amount of distraction when you are on the road. That’s why they don’t recommend cellphones and kids on the front seats – so that the driver can focus on the road!

Considering the above, should people – wearing Google Glasses while using the road – be fined? Should there be a law that people should not use wearable computers while on the road? I think it calls for better regulations as drivers with a computer in their view-line WILL prove to be very dangerous on the road.

According to an article in Reuters (May 18 2013), US Lawmakers have sought detailed information about the glasses, especially if it is capable of face recognition. It also states that Google has replied the glasses are not capable of that at the moment.

Google Project Glass 400x240 Google Glass Review, Privacy, Social Acceptance, & Legal Factors

Google Glass May Reduce Cognitive Abilities!

There is no doubt that our brain is capable of multitasking. We might be writing a paper, thinking about the next point while at the same time creating a playlist. That is the simplest example I could come up with. Many people have brains powerful to do better multitasking – without losing track of any task! But will the eyes co-ordinate and will the brain process two entirely different pieces of information at the same time? For example, you are creating a paper and chatting at the same time? Would you be able to focus on any of the tasks continuously?

I may not be able to do that – because I need few seconds between transfers from one task to another – for proper continuation. Maybe, I will also have to go a few steps back to know where I left the previous task so that I can continue properly. And at a point, it will become irritating and I will stop one of the tasks to focus on the other.

A study published in Daily Mail [2] says Google Glasses will reduce Cognitive Abilities of people using them. There is no doubt the product frees both hands and eyes (well, one eye). The study says when the mind is engaged, wearers could fail to see something that would ‘otherwise be utterly obvious.’

This could be meaning the same as above section – but in a broader sense. Translated, it means the users will fail at one or the other task just because most part of the brain is engaged in processing the output from Google Glasses. That, in turn, would mean the wearable computer is reducing cognitive abilities of the user. The long-term effects are yet to be established but for short-term, yes – because the brain is divided on which info to process first!

Social Acceptance Of Google Glass

Malls, bars and theaters have already been saying they won’t allow people wearing Google glasses. If they want to come in, they have to remove the glasses and keep them with the security until leaving. Some associations have said if found recording (meaning if the red light on the glass is blinking for just any reason) they will be escorted out of the place.

Forget malls and similar places, how comfortable would you be when talking face to face with a person wearing Google glasses? Some experts have said that if the wearer is recording, a small red light outside the glass would be blinking and that the person would have to ask the glass to take a photo verbally. I have not yet tested a Google glass physically and personally. But I doubt there won’t be anything that would reduce its capabilities only to normal people – that is, if a person cannot speak, she or he won’t be able to record or take a snap because of the lack of verbal signal. I doubt there won’t be apps that would bypass the need for voice commands and would instead, use something else to trigger audio/video recording. We already have spy glasses and Google glasses should prove even better at recording without the other person knowing!

In other words, we won’t be able to know for sure about the intentions of the person wearing the Google glasses. Another study by ZoneAlarm [3] says people will never be able to trust a person wearing Google Glasses. In my opinion, social acceptance issues will arise, and these glasses will have to stay out of social gatherings – parties, get-together and conferences! Can’t think of more examples at the moment, but I feel the use will be limited and mostly when the person/user is alone in its early years!

The Reuters article [4] we discussed above has Google Executive Chairman saying people will adjust to it later as more and more people start wearing it. That is, social etiquette will develop regarding the Google glasses in due time.

Summary

We know that Internet-based technology is always addictive. Glasses are something that are hands free, wearable and would mean higher levels of addiction. Given that, people would be wearing them most of the time and hence, would be trying to use the same brain for two purposes – one for doing what they are doing normally, without the glass and one for processing the output of the glasses. What would that result into? More stress, more anxiety and related disorders?

Or should I expect that as with most other computing technology, our bodies will adapt, and things would be fine? With the adoption, I mean that people are learning to cope with less sleep, instant and delayed food, sitting for hours, less exercise etc. These are the factors to review against and for Google glasses in my opinion…

What is your take on the Google Glasses’ social acceptance, legal factors and other feasibility?

References:

  1. Features of Google Glasses, The Windows Club
  2. Google Glasses Potentially Dangerous, Daily Mail
  3. Google Glasses Privacy Concerns, ZoneAlarm
  4. Google Glasses – Cool or Creepy.
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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. He also offers online training for Business English. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN
  • Nick

    Another control device as Google is funded by the US government. Google is a spy entity; Google buys and sells countless data-points about you. They are truly an evil and greedy entity. All of us should boycott Google and it’s sub-standard spy products. They want to take over the world.

  • http://www.powercutmedia.in/ Arun Kumar

    Don’t know about the govt part, but yes – Google does spy. Was imagining what if future apps bring in facial recognition. Would it serve the country or would it be more danger? Also, read news that Google will allow FBI to search its data without any warrant. So probably, you are true about govt tie up also.

  • Mike Meagher

    Everyone carries a cell phone and that phone can take pictures and can record video all legally so why not Glass? There are cameras on every street corner, in every business and the government can listen to your phone conversations whenever they want. All these Hippocrates making a big deal about the Glass when everything they do not is scrutinized every day and they go about with out a concern. Sorry Nick but the US gov already has taken over your life but your just don’t want to see it or maybe you just don’t care. Google glass will not make a difference or have little effect but because the media, which is controlled by the US Gov says so, people think it’s about spying. Who isn’t spying nowadays?

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