How Do Normal People Like You Feel About Google Glass?

Ian-Fortey by Ian-Fortey on May. 16, 2013

We’ve been hearing about Google Glass for months now. It’s going to change the world, it’s the next big thing in technology and will alter how we live our lives and perform day to day tasks.  They used to say the same thing about the Segway.  But is it true this time? Will having a camera and the internet literally in your face all day change your world?  BiTE Interactive decided to do a study on what people really think and now we want to know what you think.  Let’s start with some results.

  • Of 1,000 US smartphone users, only 10% said they would regularly use Google Glass.
  • 45% said they thought Google Glass was “too socially awkward” or “too irritating” to wear.
  • 44% said they don’t find any of Google Glass’ known features desireable.
  • If Google lowered the price (it’s currently $1,500 in beta), 38% still wouldn’t wear it.
  • 44% of those who would wear it say taking pictures is the most compelling feature
  • Most people against it feel it’s socially invasive and prioritizes tech over human interaction

That last point is the key to understanding what most people dislike about Glass – the fear that you may look like you’re listening to them while actually just surfing the internet.  It’s like a brand new day to reject people in social situations when really, we have plenty of ways to reject people already.

Pictued: Every Break editor ever attempting to touch a girl

We’ve discussed some of the issues with Glass in other blogs, but the closer we get to the technology hitting the streets, and the more we hear about people jailbreaking some of the features to allow for more discrete operations – filming video with no outside indication,  or allowing for remote control of Glass basically turning you into a walking surveillance device, we’re not hearing a lot of feedback on how Google or people in general plan to deal with these situations.  So for you, I have a scenario.

Imagine it’s the future and Google Glass is everywhere.  On the streets you bump into people regularly wearing the device.  They’re as commonplace as smartphones.  How do you deal with these situations;

-You’re in a public washroom at a urinal and the guy next to you turns and looks at you for a second.  He’s wearing Google Glass.  You can’t tell if he’s taking pics or video.

-You and your girlfriend are going up an escalator at the mall.  You turn and see a guy 7 steps down looking up at you, and her, and her skirt, with Google Glass on his face.

-You’re on a date, you lean over to kiss the girl you’re with in the restaurant and the next table over is a guy wearing Google Glass?  Is he looking at you?  You leave the restaurant, go for a walk.  You pass a guy in the park walking towards you also wearing Glass.  Was he recording? Is there anywhere left you can go where someone isn’t maybe filming you?

They're watching you.  On the toilet.

That last point sounds paranoid but here’s the thing – are you really paranoid if 40% of the population have just become walking cameras?  Or even just 10%?  10% of the US population is over 30 million people.  Will you ever be able to have a quiet dinner at a restaurant again without wondering if you’ll be on Youtube tomorrow?

So what do you think?  Is having a camera on your face worth it if everyone else has one, too?  If you know that, everywhere you go, all someone has to do is speak a word and you’ll be recorded going to affect the way you act in public?

If you don’t think the potential to be on camera is so bad, just remember the one thing that separates Glass for the security camera at Starbucks – Google owns Glass.  Google owns Youtube, Google Plus which is soon going to overtake Twitter as the world's second largest social network behind Facebook, cloud servers, facial recognition software, massive ad networks and more.  Much more.  Companies like Facebook are already happy to use your personal information to target you for ads and data mining – why wait until you put it on Facebook? 

If you’re outside at a concert and someone records you on Glass, why shouldn’t your image go to a Google server somewhere?  Why shouldn’t you be matched to your social networks with facial recognition?  Why shouldn’t everything you do, and say, not become part of your online presence?  Because you want privacy?  But you’re outside in the world, there’s no privacy out there.  So Glass can film you.  Store you.  Use you later.  Use you for what, you might ask?

Nobody is watching you. Please continue.

That’s a very good question.  If your face, your voice, your actions, are stored forever in the massive cloud of data, what could that be used for, and by whom?

Paranoia?  Maybe.

What do you think about Google Glass now?

- Ian (@holytaco on Twitter, yo)