Google Glass, targeted for release by the end of 2013, promises to be the first wearable computer. It also promotes itself as having the “Now” app – which uses your search history, your location, and your behavior history to predict what information you will need in real time. Examples cited include such things as “Now” determines you are leaving work to head home for the day, and it produces information about current traffic conditions. If you’ve booked a flight online, and entered that information on your Google calendar, “Now” will pop in prompts for travel delays and updates, time to leave for the airport and best route to take to get there.
The Google Glass promises to be non-blocking, which means you don’t have to switch your attention away from other tasks to access the information from Glass. Heads-up display, in other words. Sound like what The Terminator sees when looking at a potential target, doesn’t it? The device is worn like eyeglasses. Glasses with a forward facing camera, to see what you see, an ear bud to hear what you hear, a microphone, and a touchpad strip for data entry located along the sidebar of the glasses. It reportedly runs Android, as well, enabling users to use apps, play games, and other smart phone-type functions.
This technology, which seems all but assured to roll out, brings with it privacy concerns on a whole new level. This thing uses your information in a constant, real time way, to provide you with information it (and Google analytics) think you need right now. Of course, all your information rolls back to Google Oracle, home of the “targeted advertising” that pops up on everything we use – from FaceBook, to Kindle, and beyond. Naturally, Google is assuring us they will have super strong privacy controls in place to prevent outsiders from seeing your stuff. However, the information still goes back to Google for their use. Cookies, anyone?
The paranoid, or realists, depending on your point of view, see this new development as the end of all privacy as we know it, and a portal for subtle mind control. Imagine a program that knows everything about you, your behavior, your preferences, your purchases. It knows when you are taking a shower, where you are eating, what you are watching on the internet. Could advertisers – the lifeblood of Google – pay more to gently guide you to their product, by featuring that product in your personalized pop-ups, and hiding other products? Google says the product will show you what YOU want to see, but will it in reality show you what THEY want you to see, in a way that makes you think it was your idea? We’ll find out in 2013.