If you thought people texting while driving or walking was bad enough, just wait: Google has found a way to ensure that people’s attention is even less focused on what they’re doing than it is now. The tech giant is working on glasses that will be able to stream information onto a small screen in real time. Yes, it will basically be able to give you “Terminator vision,” and yes, I will be staying the hell off the streets the day these things go to market.
The new “smart glasses,” for lack of a better term, are expected to go on sale later this year, according to the New York Times, and will cost between $250 and $600. Unsurprisingly, the eyepieces are said to run on Google’s Android platform, will allow for 3G or 4G connections, and will include other goodies such as GPS. The really cool part is that the glasses will use a camera to monitor and bring up information about your surroundings. They could theoretically bring up all manner of information in the same manner as augmented reality apps that let you, for instance, point your phone’s camera at a building and bring up restaurant reviews, or direct you to the nearest coffee shop or movie theater or whatever. It could even tell you which friends are nearby.
That perk, of course, is sure to make privacy advocates uneasy, but members of the company’s Google X team assured the NYT that they’re taking those concerns into consideration. “Internally, the Google X team has been actively discussing the privacy implications of the glasses and the company wants to ensure that people know if they are being recorded by someone wearing a pair of glasses with a built-in camera.” That’s good to know, and it will be interesting to see what solution they come up. I personally would like to suggest that the phones project a giant, holographic “On the Air” icon above the user’s head when the camera is active. Of course, you know that some tech-savvy folks will find a way to get around whatever safeguards Google implements, so the roving pervert community should have no fear — your high-tech peeping future is still secure.
One outstanding question is how exactly the user interface would work, but tech blogger Seth Weintraub may have the answer. Via his 9 to 5 Google blog, he claims that:
The navigation system currently used is a head tilting to scroll and click. We are told it is very quick to learn and once the user is adept at navigation, it becomes second nature and almost indistinguishable to outside users.
So there you have it. Later this year, you may find yourself wondering if that guy on the subway who keeps twitching all over the place is bopping his head along to the music or trying to snap a picture down your blouse. Oh brave new world…
You can read more about the Google glasses in the New York Times.