Every major tech company is working on computer glasses. None of them really want to be first.
Everyone remembers how Google Glass and how “Glassholes” wearing them became the laughing stock of the world in front of the public. So they waited, biding their time, improves prototypesand often let investors know that no, they’re not going to pass up the first potential iPhone-sized opportunity since the iPhone.
But now Google itself is taking the next step. If you’ve been dreading the moment Big Tech’s all-seeing eyes appear in people’s heads, or you’re just counting down the days until you can own a silent camera-computer, you should know that we’re on the verge of fighting them. once again.
last tuesday, Google announced it will begin testing camera-equipped augmented reality glasses in public places company blog post It consists of numerous statements designed to reassure you that there will be no more Glassholes. Google claims it’s starting with “several dozen” testers, and that the cameras and microphones on its glasses “do not support photography and videography.” They collect visual data, but Google wants you to imagine use cases like “translating the menu in front of you” — not to mention someone in front of you at the bar.
of the company support page also “What is the image data used for?” contains a complete list of frequently asked questions such as; “How long is it stored?”; and “How do I know if I’m close to the products being tested?” If Google decides to keep the images for analysis, there is an LED that lights up and it promises to delete them after 30 days.
For now, Google says its testers won’t be using them in schools, hospitals, churches, playgrounds, and the like — though it won’t say anything about restaurants or bars where Glass is available. got celebrity wearers into trouble years ago.
If you hate the idea, there’s probably nothing else I can tell you, and I wouldn’t want to; I do not pretend to know if such a gadget exists should do exists in the world. I just think you need to understand that if Google’s trial doesn’t end in utter disgust, it won’t be long before Apple, Microsoft and others throw their long-awaited glasses into the ring.
And in 2022, I wouldn’t actually bet on disgust, mainly because we’ve had phones pointed at things in public for a decade, documenting every element of our lives, to prepare us for what’s to come.
A team since 2012 Google paratroopers have landed at the Moscone Center Mobile camera use exploded with the first public Google Glass prototypes. Not only There are point-and-shoots where phone cameras are completely destroyed but they also changed social norms. In 2012, it was still a little weird to pull out a camera in a bar or restaurant; now, that would be weird no to take selfies with friends or snap some shots of a particularly delicious-looking meal. Afraid you might accidentally shoot a stranger? This is a common everyday occurrence that Google uses “magic” background person eraser As a selling point for Pixel phones.
Also, cell phone cameras don’t just record when someone thinks to take their smartphone out of their pocket; they fly in the air. Now anyone can buy a self-flying camera from Snap for $230 We’ve had more than a decade to robot-film public spaces and get used to the idea that someone else’s camera can look down on you. The consumer drone revolution has largely happened after Google Glass — The DJI Phantom wasn’t released until 2013.
Google Glass also preceded the widespread adoption of 4G LTE, which brought live streaming and instant video streaming to the masses. This is the reason you can mention the police and possibly hold them accountable. (Remember when Google Glass experts wrote The concept of “art”, a form of reverse surveillance where people use their cameras to track viewers? The phones had already taken us there.)
Public spaces are now filled with cameras pointed in every direction, and there is very little expectation of privacy outside of your home. Society also hasn’t had many successful challenges with the proliferation of cameras. Even if the shooting was illegal, how would you police it? It’s not easy to tell if someone is actually recording, checking TikTok, or just doing business on the go.
As my former colleague Ellis Hamburger said in 2014, we’re all Glassholes now. And I feel this is even more true during the pandemic, as even the tech-deprived have come to rely on their pocket computers for bare necessities like socializing and eating. In the past few years, I’ve seen people turn to Amazon, DoorDash, Facebook, Instacart, etc., forgoing technology for things they can do in person. And I suspect some of them will now be more open-minded about the benefits of technology.
Even headphones can’t quite carry the stigma they do because of the pandemic. VR usage exploded during the 2020 lockdownseven total sales figures still relatively small. The modern rise, fall and rise of virtual reality is still something that has happened after The fateful 2012 launch of Google Glass.
The pandemic may also cause us to reset some of our social norms, such as masking up, which has the beneficial side effect of hiding your identity from cameras while reducing the spread of germs. It is not so difficult to imagine countries that will tolerate citizens Wearing a mask like Bane tolerates other headwear as well. You may remember a time when Bluetooth headphones were available it is considered too ugly and rude to wear in publicand these are now thoroughly normalized.
Moreover, Google is not the first company to dip its toe in these waters. Snapchat is now active the fourth generation of its Spectacles camera glassesMeta has it Ray-Ban Storiesand you can argue with Meta Project Aria test Very similar to what Google is doing now. Still, none have caused the whiff that Google Glass experienced a decade ago.
Of course, that could change if a future pair of glasses becomes more intrusive than our existing phones and drones. There will be serious questions about data collection and privacy, especially given the track record of some of the companies that built them.
But in 2022, I think the biggest challenge facing Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Snap is figuring out how to build AR experiences that we’ll actually pay for — experiences that are more engaging or convenient than what phones offer. As we wrote in May While Google is selling some real-time language translation glasses, the company has an interesting idea in there:
It’s hard to see Glasshole watching that video. But it is also very easy to detect steam pot.
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