One Glassy Gal

This past week in NYC, I had the unexpected chance to try out Google Glass.  Google just recently started rolling out devices to a lucky few who are either influencers in the space or signed up at Google IO last year to be some of the first developers to try them out. I am not one of the chosen ones, but I did get to spend a little bit of time calibrating myself to the new technology.

I have to say it was more fascinating then I expected. I was surprised at the short amount of time it took for me to become accustomed to wearing them. What was even more interesting to me, is that I have analog glasses and I absolutely hate wearing them. In fact I hate even wearing sunglasses on a sunny day. I am just not one of those people who likes something on my face, but I found these glass to be quite comfortable, lightweight and surprisingly unobtrusive. They also didn’t look as bad or dorky as I had been led to believe by the naysayers.  You may disagree but I don’t think I look that bad in Glass.

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They were far better an accessory than those ridiculously large first cellphones. Remember those? Even Zack Morris couldn’t pull one of those off.

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Oh wait…maybe he could.

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Regardless, people needn’t worry themselves about the look of these early prototypes, Google is no fool and I am sure mass customization is in the future roadmap. The ease of the user experience of Glass is far more important to me than the looks anyway. In just a few moments of getting used to the commands, I almost forgot I had them on. I took a few pictures, looked up some directions, snagged a video clip and faster than you can say the command “okay glass” I felt like they were already an extension of me. I could take a pictures while my friends around me barely noticed.

Is your mind going to that place where all the creepy people live and are taking unsolicited photos and video of you?  Where car accidents are perpetrated by Google Glass wearing geeks? There are many people who have already put Google Glass in that box and are gearing up for a legality and privacy fight.  People love a good fight when they smell money, but I would argue unsolicited photos and video happen already en masse? Just ask the stars of Andria Richard’s PyCon photo. Just ask anyone who walks through a crowded space full of flash bulbs or facial recognition cameras like Times Square, the Olympics, or a concert. We are all being photograped and video taped on a daily basis and most often not to our knowledge.

Google Glass doesn’t change that. I would maybe argue that for now the fact that you are wearing a less prolific device and have to say a verbal command to take a picture makes it more obvious than a silent click of one of the ubiquitous smartphones found in a crowd. There is of course already a Glass app that purports to let you take a photo with just a wink. Although, I suck at winking that app could have proven really useful to me when I tried to capture a free pic of a grown man wearing a Transformer suit in Times Square for my little boy.  You see, I didn’t know I was supposed to pay and for that I got a well deserved authentic NYC response, “Hey, Go Fuck Yo-self”

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As a friend pointed out this weekend, when the camera phones first came out people worried that the interent would explode with  naked photos taking from locker rooms and sought to ban them. That didn’t stop phones from becoming smarter and more plentiful. Although there has been plenty a nudie or nude selfie throughout the years as well as Jesse Thomas’s unfortunate and recent lesson learned from social sharing of ones exploits, the instances of grave misuse pale in comparison to positive uses of  mobile technology .

With all new technologies there is the possibility and almost certainty of just plain bad users.  Despite bans, people still talk and text on cell phones every day while driving, sneak cameras into concerts, take pictures of sexual assaults and more mundanely use devices on planes long after the flight attendants have issued their stern warnings. Laws won’t change that. Responsible people and educated users will change it. Education can’t eradicate all misuse,  but over time we as a collective population will get used to the fact that the technology of connected devices is here to stay and we will adapt and do our best to self police, we always do.

Take for instance the young cab driver who found my brand new iPhone left behind in his car this week. Instead of pocketing it and selling it, he called the lost mode number I had enacted from iCloud and personally walked my phone back to me across Manhattan after his shift. Honestly until the moment he walked up to me with my phone,  I never thought I would see my phone again even though he had contacted me. He was greeted with one big stranger-hug. The news always exploits the bad, so we have a tendency to think the world is out to get us, but we have to remember the majority of the world and it’s people are at the core good human beings.

I have to admit I am a technology advocate , it is what I do for a living, so my excitement for wearable technology and possibilities is probably a bit more intense than the average person. When I tried on Google Glass, I didn’t think of the creepers of the world, or ease of social sharing,  I thought about how this represents an advancement in technology that can pave the way for more profound life saving devices. Imagine a doctor performing an operation in a third world country while wearing Google Glass? They could one day transmit eye-level surgical challenges to more trained doctors around the world who could guide them through procedures in real-time to save more lives.  They can be used to photograph skin conditions or tumors, compare them in seconds to data bases of diseases and allow for more speedy and accurate remote or rural diagnosis. They could capture accidents as they happen so that the films can be studied to improve car safety or helmet safety for sports.  They could transmit video of where people are trapped in the rubble of hurricanes, avalanches, or collapsed garment factories to allow for better and safer extraction outcomes.  The life saving possibilities are endless.

These possibilities to me are what outweigh the rising tide of  backlash around security, safety and privacy misuses. Google is is putting itself out there by being the guinea pig for this next generation of technology and I applaude them for that.  I just hope that others can see the positive future possibilities of this technology and allow Glass to survive beyond the internet memes.  Your’s Truly, A Glassy Gal.

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