“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 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.
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 a 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, 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 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 a 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  says Google Glasses will reduce the 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 the 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 the cognitive abilities of the user. The long-term effects are yet to be established but for the 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 to wear 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  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  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.
We know that Internet-based technology is always addictive. Glasses are something that is 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?
Related read: Features of Google Glasses.