Friday, April 6, 2012

Google Glasses and the March (Stumble?) of Technology

There are lots of articles coming out on Google's latest project, Google Glasses (though I like "Google Goggles" better as a name). It isn't entirely clear what these things will do, but the idea seems to be that they will display information to you in real time, based on all of the tons of info out there in various cloud-based forms.

On the one hand, the tech geek in me says that these sound really cool - who wouldn't want a heads-up display in their glasses? But I'm also kind of ambivalent - all sorts of questions suggest themselves:

• Will people wearing these things have a tendency to walk into walls, or each other, because they're watching the data and not where they're going? Will we get more videos of people falling into fountains?

• Rumor has it that these things will have cameras built into them. If so, will they be tied to face-recognition software, so you get info on who you're looking at? If so, will it bring up that person's FB profile? Public arrest records? Contact information? Will this be the end of the anonymous crowd? This seems a little creepy to me - sort of Minority Report-ish.

• Ironically, will face recognition software still work if everybody is wearing big glasses?

• Will they have GPS/location tracking built in, such that you are essentially on Foursquare all the time? If so, how much more privacy would you be giving up while wearing them? It's already been discovered that law enforcement is getting cell phone tracking info without warrants; but do we really want more "Girls Around Me" style apps?

• Will these become a "must have" technology? I used to scoff at GPS units, because I'm pretty good at reading maps and navigating on my own - but now that I have one, I really like having it (more as a trip computer than as a navigator, although the later feature is sometimes useful). If they become "must have", will everybody start to wear glasses? If so, will "two eyes" become the new insult?

• At what point do we reach information overload? Do I really need to see review data on every restaurant I look at? At the very least, there will have to be a LOT of selectivity, because it would be really, really easy to get over-bombed with info, especially in crowded public spaces (will they short out in Times Square?)

• Fashion designers are going to have a field day with this. I'm sure the high-end eyewear makers are already in talks (or desperately trying to be) with Google, and I'm sure there will be some early-adopter Hollywood celebs (much like Arnold Schwartzenegger back when he bought an early-model civilian Hummer). How long until these things are available at Wal-Mart?

• Or is all of this just a fad, where people will decide that the expense (both equipment and a "data plan") and hassle of wearing glasses isn't worth it?

1 comment:

  1. I forsee a new darwin award - "walking into traffic while wearing futuristic glasses"

    I think the more interesting tech is simply the augmented reality projected on barely visible glass.

    I'm imagining secondary system interfaces where monitors have augmented physically interactive UIs (projections on projections). And of course, windows with interactive information (some company demo'd a car with this kind of tech).

    We reached information overload years ago, now it's about getting the information you care about in front of your face.