Google Glass is a tiny computer device, mounted on a frame that can be worn as normal eye glasses. It comes with a head-mounted display and other unique features. It’s a product of the almighty Google Corporation and it showcases as a wearable computer that can easily display internet-based information just like a smartphone. Currently, the Google Glass frames don’t have lenses like normal eye glasses. Nevertheless, Google is still working towards the full integration of lenses on the product. It’s partnering with reliable retailers on sunglasses to make the product have wearable lenses. Google intends to make the “Glass” work with lenses and frames that will suit users’ preferences.
The Technology behind Google Glass
Google Glass is actually being manufactured by Google X which is a technological department of the famous Google Corporation. Google X has worked on several futuristic technologies including driver-less cars. It was the project leader Babak Parvic who announced the introduction of the Glass on Google +, in early 2012.
Currently, the Explorer is the latest edition of the Google Glass. It’s still in the testing phase and it goes for $1500. The consumer version is purported to be available by the end of the year 2013.
The current Explore edition of the Glass comes with the following features:
- camera with video recording capacity
- Touchpad for easy control
- Android 4.0.4
- 640 x 360 display resolution
- 16GB storage
- 682 MB Ram
- 3 axis gyroscope
- 3 axis Magnetometer
- 3 axis accelerometer
- free applications build by 3rd party developers
- Ability to use diverse kinds of existing Google applications such as Gmail, Google+, Google Maps and so on.
Meanwhile, several app developers have come up with enhanced applications for the Glass. Among such apps include :
- Facial recognition
- Photo manipulation
- News apps
- Social networks like Twitter and Facebook
Does Google Glass have advantages over smartphones?
So far, there are no exotic materials used in manufacturing the Explorer edition of Google Glass. It’s basically a new innovation that is believed to change how people use smartphone in the 21st century. Currently, I don’t really think the Glass has advantages over smartphones (even bad ones). This is because; it’s currently having some notable challenges. Given below are some of the challenges:
The Glass sees all and can record all. It can easily record people’s activities without their permission even in public places. Hence, the product is likely to violate privacy rights. It could pose a security threat when people start using it. In fact, a user of the product can easily identify strangers in public places by using the facial recognition function of the device. The user can also record and broadcast private conversations of others in a surreptitious manner. This poses great question against the reliability of the product.
The thought of having, what in essence is an optical smartphone on our face should give us some pause. Once it’s on our faces the world becomes tinged with the fanciful. Reality, inevitably becomes intolerable and our grief at coming to terms with this will lead to relationship strife. We may say that won’t happen, but it doesn’t matter. Any man or woman that may have a romantic interest in us will undoubtedly make an unconscious judgment and put the kibosh on our romantic advances.
Acceptability in Other Countries
Currently, there are concerns over the legal acceptability of the glass in some countries. In countries like Ukraine and Russia, the use of the Glass may be considered illegal as a result of privacy concerns it poses.
Wearing Google Glass while driving is quite dangerous! The user may end up having an accident. The device can project a video or text into your vision field thereby distracting your attention while driving. Just imagine yourself: you have your Cheetos bag, a drink, some music playing, and now you are looking in your Glass display. Disaster waiting to happen.
Every new technical advance ends up being incorporated into porn somehow. Google Glass offers a user covert access to pornography that they would otherwise have to hide using a smartphone. It is conceivable that a person could have a conversation with someone while at the same time be watching porn.
Terms of Service Concerns
There are concerns with the product’s terms of service. One of the terms states that you may not loan, resell, give or transfer the device to another person. If you do so without Google’s permission, the device can be deactivated. You won’t get any refund as a result of that. For many people, this particular aspect of the terms of service is not tenable.
Moreover, there are serious debates going on concerning the introduction and use of Google Glass. Many contenders keep hammering on the challenges facing the device. In one of the latest write-ups, Ben Parr, a technology expert was wondering whether Google Glass will replace smartphones or not. He outlines the major challenges that face the device. Among them include issues relating to privacy, style, usability and so on. He is of the view that Google Glass may end up becoming the biggest failure in the Google history.
Personal Evaluation and Conclusion
Now, when I first heard of Glass I got it confused with an exotic Japanese retinal technology that is purported to endow people with “Terminator” vision. Terminator vision, is the emulation of the optical lens used by the antagonist in James Cameron’s movie, The Terminator. Google Glass lacks this capability, instead it projects a smartphone graphical display onto glass.
Having seen the technology behind Google Glass and the attendant challenges staring the device at the face, I strongly believe that people may not be very keen to purchase it. Nobody would want to go to jail for intruding into other people’s privacy. Nobody would also want to have a car crash while getting distracted by the device. Moreover, smartphones are still better portable devices that can be used at any place. One can still use his or her smartphone while driving.
In any case, Google Glass may still be a welcome innovation if the Google Corporation is able to tackle the privacy concerns and other challenges that come with the device. We keep our fingers crossed as we wait for the full introduction of the device by the end of 2013.