Google's newest technology excites some, worries others

A man wearing Google Glass.
April 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The much talked about Google Glass is finally here. In fact, the Mountain View based company has just begun to roll out the highly-anticipated tech toy to a select group of people who applied to get one.

Yet, there are many questions about where this next generation of technology may lead us and why some are concerned.

Google Glass is just one example of this new category of technology known as wearable devices. They are gadgets that will bring convenience to consumers that many may have never imagined.

But others warn you won't be able to get one without giving up something personal in return. Chief Max Wood of Gray, Georgia thinks Google Glass will save lives from situations like a house fire.

"You can make decisions to keep people safe," he said.

A futurist predicts others will use it to learn more about people they meet at a bar or on a first date.

"Google Glasses will transform dating," said Dr. James Canton of the Institute for Global Futures.

And a zookeeper says he would use Google Glass to show his point of view when feeding the penguins at the San Francisco Zoo.

Google Glass is just one example of a wearable device. CINEwear is one and Pivothead is another.

The gadgets are known as wearable devices because they can be put on by users. CINEwear is still in development but it will allow users to watch movies on a 70 inch-like screen clipped to a pair of glasses. Pivothead retails for $299 and it is a video camera that looks more like a pair of sunglasses.

"It goes wirelessly. So it's going to record into the camera and then you plug it into your computer," said Jennifer Burton with Sports Authority Elite.

But none of the other wearable devices out right now have the reach of Google Glass.

"So imagine Google Glasses, not right away, is going to also add the ability to be a phone , a computer, a television all wrapped in one experience," said Canton.

He says Google Glass will enable you to be free of your computer, free of your mobile device and give you access to the Internet right in front of your retina. He also believes Google Glass could be as addictive as pornography.

"They'll be laws that will be set up for how much time you can spend on wearable devices and gaining access to this," said Canton.

Canton says all the video you shoot will be stored by Google in a cloud and analyzed for all your likes and dislikes.

Google Glass users will have advertising tailored just for them.

"Google shouldn't be able to have a virtual live stream of everything we see going into its corporate cloud so it can dissect that information and those images for its own commercial use," said Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog.

Consumer watchdog has been critical of Google for what it considers infringements on people's privacy.

Court called on Congress to pass do not track legislation that would allow users to prevent companies from following their every move on the internet.

"We need the internet to respect our privacy and the only way to do that is to be able to click a button and make ourselves anonymous and be able to delete our information," said Court.

But Wood isn't concerned. He's one of 1,500 people who have been accepted to get an early version of Google Glass.

"You look at the first car; you know the people with wagons said 'Ah that was a gimmick,' and how many people still drive wagons, very few," he said.

"Give control back to the human intelligence and take it away from the artificial intelligence," counters Court.

It's been reported that Google Glass will be available to the general public before the end of the year.

Google declined to be interviewed for this story.


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