Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about Google’s new glasses. Google Glass is an augmented reality technology product that could cause a paradigm shift as significant as the iPhone in consumer behavior.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently said, “My vision when we started Google 15 years ago was that eventually you wouldn’t have to have a search query at all – the information would just come to you as you needed it. This is the first form factor that can deliver that vision.”
What is Google Glass?
Google Glass features a metal wire supported by two nose pads that sit above the bridge of the nose. There are two arms over the ears and a single rectangle of glass in front of the right eye. That glass lens is a screen that can project messages, images, maps and video. The wearer gives it commands, for example: “OK Glass, take a picture.” The latest patent also suggests sound could be transmitted via bone conduction technology into the head, avoiding the need for earphones. The technology could also be integrated with prescription glasses or sunglasses in a fashionable manner.
Google glass is helping usher in the age of wearable computing – that is, always-on technology that will be the next wave of mobile computing.
This technology product is one of the first, and probably the most revolutionary, wearable computers emerging in 2013. It will fracture the existing data and information privacy laws and create complex and unprecedented scenarios for law enforcement officials everywhere.
Imagine faces in every crowd able to receive digital information overlaid on their world wherever they look and automatically create video or photos of all they see. Privacy will cease to exist, and the accompanying storm of personal data will flood networks and storage, creating a vast trove of personal location-based data.
The Data Trail
The greatest challenge with all of this is that local storage in wearable computing will be limited. It is more likely that ubiquitous networking will connect directly to a cloud service. While privacy may be of concern, there are quite a few benefits to the data trail:
1. Sleep Patterns and Activity
Accelerometers can already detect movement and direction, so putting on your glasses in the morning will trigger and track your sleep schedule and daily activity. You’ll get your morning news and the Glass will track what you read. It will see what you had for breakfast and with image brand analysis it will know what brands you buy, helping brands target advertising offers and coupons that they can deliver through multiple channels.
2. Location Tracking
Jumped in the car and heading to work? Don’t worry, Google Glass will have the navigation covered with live traffic updates and real-time feedback from other users on the road. It will know your route from work and can advise you where to pick up a coffee or croissant for the way in.
3. Real-time Driving Updates
Read your email while you drive, or watch news updates. Remember that law against using a cellphone while driving? #obsolete
Hey, that guy is running a red light: “Glass, record a video. Stop video. Email to @police.”
4. Personal Space
The office might get a bit complicated. Most of us discreetly glance the other way when there are office wardrobe malfunctions or improper situations, but continuous photo mode every 5 seconds is going to be a problem. Is there stealth mode? How can one even inspect the photos if they’ve vanished into the cloud?
5. Share Your Life
We share more of our lives online than ever before. Glass is kind of like a GoPro camera for the masses. GoPro headmount cameras have delivered some amazing video footage from adventure seekers and thrill riders; however, they are not typical in business or more formal social situations. Glass just might change that if it is fashionable and subtle enough. Expect it to push the envelope of social video, up close and personal.
It would be innocent enough if these various elements were islands of disconnected data in the cloud. But recent moves from Google have significantly agitated privacy advocates: Google has been pooling data of individual users across its services in order to bundle them for advertisers without an opt-out capability and with little publicity.
While this opens up a ton of promotional, retention, and engagement opportunities, it also means knowing where to draw the line for users. Prepare to enter a brave new world with Glass and – just a heads up – the onus is on you to manage the data trail from your eye to the cloud.
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