The verdict remains out on whether or not Google Glass is going to change our lives forever, but one thing's for certain: it's done a splendid job of drumming up lots of conversation. With its growing featureset, Glass has the capabilities of offering an unparalleled level of convenience to its wearers, but there's one side-effect feature that's not touted on the package: weirding out everyone around you.
At its developer conference held this past week, Google held four discussions about Glass - none of which tackled privacy or other risks that the product exposes. While it's clear that the company hasn't had much to say about the issues up to this point, it's not going to be able to avoid them forever. For what it's worth, Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt did suggest that proper Glass etiquette would evolve over time.
Given the sheer lack of etiquette I take in whenever I'm out and about, I personally have a hard time believing that.
Allen Firstenberg, one of the attendees at Google's I/O conference, relayed an experience, "I had a friend and we're sitting at dinner and about 30 minutes into it she said, 'You know those things freak me out'" Can you blame her? Unlike a smartphone or camera, both of which are clearly obvious when they're being used, Glass can be recording at any moment, unbeknownst to anyone around you.
We live in an age where we're being monitored from every angle. At any given time, you could be visible by more than one camera. It sucks, but it's the reality of the world we live in. However, as uncomfortable as that is, I'd feel far more uncomfortable knowing that I, my family or my friends could be recorded by a regular Joe at any given time. The problem isn't simply winding up in someone's random video, but winding up in a video of someone who's not exactly the most honorable citizen.
As someone on the other side of the Glass, so to speak, I'm uncomfortable. I'd be uncomfortable as well if I were the one actually wearing it, because I'd feel like everyone around me would want to know what I'm up to. Clearly though, not everyone has had an issue wearing Glass. In another experience Firstenberg relayed, he walked into a public restroom not even realizing that he still had the gadget on his face.
What are your thoughts on this whole Glass privacy debacle? Do you expect that we're just going to eventually accept the change it's bringing?
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