Mixed feelings on Google Glass: Excitement, some concern

May 14, 2013 9:25:20 PM PDT
More than 5,000 technology enthusiasts are pouring into San Francisco for the Google I/O developer's conference and nearly everyone wants to hear the latest on Google Glass.

Google Glass is a lot like a smartphone, but you wear it on your face. It's the wearable device that made a grand entrance at Google I/O 2012. Developers even lined up to drop $1,500 for an early test version.

So did a few journalists, like CNET's Jessica Dolcourt, who finally got hers.

"I found that I picked it up right away. So you can tap on the side, you can swipe forward and backward. You can swipe down to go back," she said.

With gestures and voice commands, Google Glass aims to put the best of Google just a glance away, without being in the way.

"I do see a tiny little bit of the frame, but I mostly see you. And the longer I wear this, the more I get used to it, and the more I really see past it," said Dolcourt.

The transparent lens has a tiny display that can show maps, weather reports and text messages. And soon, apps from developers like Ian Shakil.

"When I had the opportunity randomly to try on Glass this past summer, it was an epiphany moment for me," he said.

He's building apps especially for doctors on Google Glass and other wearable devices.

"Ask a doctor right now, and they spend a lot of their time on the computer, back turned. We really believe that when doctors use our product, Augmedix. It's really going to elevate the quality of care," said Shakil.

How glass plays with consumers could depend on looks.

"This edition is just for developers only and the final product is going to look a lot more stylish," said Dolcourt.

Google is addressing a lot of different products at Google I/O 2013, but it seems Google Glass is the one everybody's talking about. Not just because they're excited, but in some cases because they're concerned.

"You know if you're in your local bar, do you want someone there with a Google Glass," the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Kurt Opsahl asked. "Is it appropriate to be wearing it at all times?"

Unlike a smartphone, the tiny camera on Google Glass is always pointed and nobody knows whether it's on or off.

"A lot of things that used to be private are now going to be public," said Opsahl. "And the question is; is that a society that we want to live in?"


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