Consumers are well-acquainted with mobile devices and the convenience of constantly having access to a camera, the Internet and all their important information with a simple swipe of a finger. Now, Google is looking to change how the user carries the mobile device by making it wearable. Although Google Glass does not have traditional lenses like regular eyeglasses, the user wears a small device over the eye that allows them to interact with the device with little to no effort. The device is rumored to have an eye-tracking device that allows the user to control it with eye movements and small gestures. Although Google has not released a date regarding when the product will be available to consumers, it’s clear that these won’t be your regular pair of cheap eye glasses – developers are currently paying $1500 to get their hands on an early version.
Along with the brilliant innovation and new technology that is behind the device come concerns over privacy and security. While fans of the device are urging Google to move forward with production, opponents are concerned that changing the mobile world once again will render society susceptible to harmful changes to the culture.
Anyone who has ever had a conversation with someone who is texting knows how frustrating it can be to feel ignored while you are in their presence. Unfortunately, concerns have been raised that Google Glass will take this to the next level. Imagine spending time with someone who is wearing the device and constantly interacting and speaking to the device. Your conversation and interaction is likely to be annoying and confusing as you try to decipher when you are being spoken to and when the wearer is having a conversation with the device. The fear is that Google Glass will send humans into even more of an oblivious state, causing consumers to avoid face to face interaction in favor of mobile and cyber interactions.
All people have the choice to have their picture taken and used for someone else’s purposes, but they also have the right to refuse. When someone pulls out their phone or camera to snap a picture of you, it’s easy to turn them down or remind them that your privacy is protected. With Google Glass, there is no camera present as the wearer takes a picture, removing the notification to the subject of the photograph. This raises concerns with privacy and security as perfect strangers on the street are able to take pictures of others with no notification.
Most humans control their sense of self based largely on memories and how they view and edit them. For most people, there is a balance between your public life, private life and partially public life. With Google Glass, you now have the opportunity to relive and analyze every interaction you’ve had during the day. This may change how people interact with you when they fear that anything they say or do may be recorded and played later for analyzing or a different interpretation. Even worse than that is when you are having a conversation with a stranger or an acquaintance and you are not sure whether or not they are recording you. This creates an uncomfortable situation that many people will avoid.
It’s unclear exactly how much Google Glass will affect cultures, but one thing is ultimately clear. Similar to how the mobile device changed how people interact with each other, a wearable mobile device will have a big impact on the social interactions of humans. Whether the effects are positive or negative remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Google has a fight on their hands from those who are determined to maintain the current foundation of culture.