Consider my title a serious question, but it’s not exactly what you think. I’m not advocating that Google Glass (or even Apple’s own version, iGlasses; hint, wink, nudge) fail in the marketplace and become a footnote in technology history.
My view is quite the contrary. More on that in a moment. First, already there are a number of instances of Google Glass wearers being questioned by authorities. The most recent Glass news involved a moviegoer in Ohio who was taken by authorities from the movie he was watching. Why? He was wearing Google Glass, and authorities thought he might be trying to record the movie he was watching and that’s illegal (not to mention difficult).
Because Google Glass has a built in video camera the device is already banned in restaurants, movie theaters, and other locales. Google Glass is distinct, so it’s easy to spot who is wearing them.
Second, the original question. What happens when Google Glass disappears? And by disappear I mean you cannot tell if a person’s glasses are normal glasses or Google (or Apple) enhanced glasses.
How will authorities or anyone be able to tell the difference between someone wearing regular prescription glasses (or, sunglasses) from a discrete version of Google Glass?
The fear of Big Brother watching becomes a fear that everyone with glasses is Big Brother. Talk about a loss of privacy.
On the other hand, what can users and wearers get in future, more powerful, more discrete versions of Google Glass that will help the device to overcome the stigma that’s already grown sufficient to involve federal authorities? What built-in safeguards will be required to ensure the privacy of those near Google Glass users?
It’s not that capturing a video of someone in a private meeting or in public is difficult today. Video cameras and microphones can easily be hidden from view and used to capture anything, anytime, almost anywhere. For now, because of the unique physical design, Google Glass is easily identified. Out of sight, out of mind for the former. Visible, identifiable surveillance devices are a whole different ball game.
What happens then Google Glass disappears from view and appears as ordinary glasses, yet has even more capability, more recording capacity, better connectivity?
Unfortunately, I see the government getting involved quickly with this growing phenomenon, and putting limits on what Google Glass derivatives can do and how, all in the name of privacy and security.
Imagine that. The government as a champion for privacy and security.