A few of the developers I work with here in New York also work on apps for Google Glass, the much maligned wearable technology in the form of glasses.
At first thought, glasses with a camera and a screen which can display messages and alerts seems like an idea right out of the future. There’s a problem with the future. It’s not here yet. And some of what’s coming is downright creepy.
The Spy With A Smile
The more I see Google Glass being used the more creepy it becomes. Why? It’s the camera. Or, worse, it’s the knowledge that the user has a camera attached to his head.
It’s that Borg-like look and the potential for taking photos and movies of nearly anything in front of the glasses– without the viewed knowing they’re being viewed that continues to bother me.
I’m pretty much like any other red, white, and blue American male with a desire for new technology toys. What is it about Google Glass which both excites and scares?
On the excite side, the ability to see notifications, alerts, messages and the like on the lens (used as a screen) seems to have merit. How handy and distracting it will be while walking and driving is a different issue.
We live in an era where nearly everyone has a smartphone and most of them have very good cameras (which should put to rest the search for Bigfoot, Nessie, and flying saucers).
It’s exactly that aspect of Google Glass which worries people because the built-in camera could– with the right glass frames– record photos and videos and audio conversations without the knowledge of those being photographed or recorded.
Is that creepy or what?
Google’s then CEO Eric Schmidt had this to say about the company’s policy toward privacy and user data.
Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.
Scary, no? Wait. There’s more.
With your permission you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches. We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.
How is that not creepy?
If ever there was an opportunity for Apple to distance itself from Google it is with privacy and personal data. Apple sells hardware to make money. Google sells information about you to make money.
Almost everything about Google is becoming creepy.