Arch-tech evangelist Robert Scoble posted a two-week review of Google Glass over the weekend – the do-no-evil company’s approach to integrating technology into eyewear – and it is passionate to say the least, insisting that he barely took them off – except to go to sleep.
Everywhere he went, Scoble says in a Google Plus post, he was met with curiosity and intrigue, and generally less skepticism or concern for privacy than he had imagined. One audience member insisted he wouldn’t chat to Scoble with them on – perhaps a valid point considering the during-conversation snapshots uploaded at the end of the post – but otherwise the reactions were generally positive and excited.
Scoble says that he will “never live a day of my life from now on” without wearing the device or some similar competitor, because the tech is “that significant”, citing Google’s suite of products switched on as default and the quickness of the camera. Photos and videos automatically upload to Google+, and as the camera can be accessed so easily – and from the perspective of the eye – it can ‘capture moments’ as seen by the user.
The full post is here. Scoble points out that the device failed to find him a sushi restaurant on the trot but there is potential here for opening up the market for micropayments – Google Glass taking bookings or singling out products to be picked up in-store.”Google is forbidding advertising in apps,” he says, which is a “huge shift” for the Google business model – speculating that Larry Page is shifting Google from an advertising based model to commerce based.
At $1500, not everyone’s going to want or be able to afford a pair. At $200, it’s a different story.
Already, though, some groups are advocating a campaign against Google Glass from hitting the mainstream – urging people to ban them from their place of work or from talking to friends or family with them on. Google’s record on privacy is not exactly exemplary, prompting concerns in Germany when the company decided to map entire neighbourhoods without the consent of, well, the people in those neighbourhoods. Google responded by blacking out households who were not comfortable with this – making them pretty easy to identify.
As a money-making company, Google appears to be socially liberal. On the surface, it serves no purpose for Google to pursue a creepy, peeping Tom agenda, but this is useful for advertising and data harvesting. And what about the countries where Google is accessed? The firm is fairly open with its transparency reports and frequently publishes requests from governments or media about take-down notices or requested information on users. Its servers are in the United States, and that makes it, and Google Glass, vulnerable to the Patriot Act – just how integrated does the world want its line of sight to be with the web?
It is already possible to trace smartphones for surveillance purposes, but in a twist of irony, just like with Facebook, users will be willingly submitting their real-life movements, interactions, and their personalities to the web and out of their control. Not just theirs, but the movements of others too. Is this anti-social media?
Scoble took Google Glass to the toilets with him. Just where else would you rather go without strangers being able to covertly trace and photograph your movements? Who takes a camcorder to the bog?
At the very least, we guess Google Glass could be a boon for the tabloid press and their papparazzi. Dim but tech-interested D-listers could even snap themselves onto the front pages – on purpose or accidentally.
Google Glass may have changed Scoble’s life forever – as he says – but could naive Glass-wearing gadget obsessives be changing ours as well? After all, it’s difficult to opt out of someone else’s choice of eyewear.