Google co-founder Sergey Brin wears Glass.

For the first time, Google is opening up the sale of its controversial Google Glass to the general public. The device resembles a pair of eyeglasses, and lets users surf the Internet and take photos and videos. As invasive technologies become more common, critics are raising privacy and safety concerns. How will an increased use of surreptitious technology shape our day-to-day lives and ethics?

Mat Honan, senior writer at WIRED
Thad Starner, professor of computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
Robert Gehl, assistant professor of communication, University of Utah

  • Guest

    Google could not have made Glass any more creepy looking. I understand that they are now working with Rayban to make a less conspicuous version, and that a competitor already has such a device, but in the end recording people in public is creepy and sometimes outrageous, whether it is done by a dorky geek in a bar, or by a peeping Tom, or by a TSA body scanner, or by the Department of Homeland Security’s TrapWire cameras, which are located around SF and can do facial recognition.

    Whereas in France, it is illegal to take a person’s photograph in public without their permission. We Americans could learn something from the French about human dignity.

    • Aaron Collom

      Frank. I hate to tell you this buddy but you got a potentially creepy stereoscopic camera embedded in your skull there.

      • thucy

        Just because Frank is paranoid, Aaron, doesn’t mean Google isn’t out to get you.

  • John

    Google glass will destroy whatever shreds of privacy we have left, create even more distracted people, and increase violence.

  • Jon Gold

    What if google gave their coveted Glass away!? Yes, free, not $1500, given to perhaps, scientists, doctors, policemen, firemen, and children as an experiment. And, there could be vetting and ‘training’ in place to regulate users motives and usage could be monitored and revoked if mis-used. The users of such devices are under as much, if not more, surveillance than those they may be seeing and hearing!

  • Robert Thomas

    Google will sell some of these to enthusiasts.

    Glass will probably be adapted for elite technical utility, as we’ve heard about for surgeons, and so on.

    Then they will be used by others who need hands-free data display while working at more prosaic tasks.

    Then they may be used by others.

    Glass seems an ideal thing for Wired journalists to write about and Wired seems an ideal venue for writing about Glass.

    An hour? Really?

  • Robert Thomas

    “I teach privacy at Georgia Tech…”

    What, as an R.A.?

    My mom taught me privacy.

  • Ben Rawner

    When will the police have access sothey can run a query that uses all the googles glasses to find someone. It can’t be far off. I personally think they Are ugly and other companies like Samsung will produce better hardware. This tech march is innevitable. My question: is there some kind of program or signal that theaters, restaurants, or other public spaces can turn on to turn off and disable googles glasses so that various rights are protected?

  • Lance

    Mission creep isn’t something google is willing to acknowledge. The product might not currently be able to be an on demand 24hour cctv for government, but eventually it can enable this feature.

    • Medical Device Engineer

      Totally agree, didn’t Google cooperate with the NSA, “Don’t be Evil” motto is total B.S.

      • Cybertronic

        Anti-Google troll above! beware!

    • chrisnfolsom

      We all know that something like “Glass” will not be used as anyone today can know, and IF Glass is the solutions Google will not own that type of interface and quicker then cell phones China will churn them out…..

  • Jerry

    What about the rudeness factor. People today already use smart phones as an extra appendage, only half interested in the person they are speaking to. Glass will only intensify this lack of attention to the person in front of them.

  • jurban

    As soon as someone figures out how to show dating information (e.g. compatibility to you, interests, icebreaker topics) hovering over a person’s head, many bars will install whatever technology is necessary to make it work and will advertise “Google Glass Friendly”. It’s a killer app for Google Glass. Many people will go to those places because it will be easier to meet compatible people. The same situation goes for networking events, conferences and tradeshows for relevant professional data.

  • Petr

    It is inevitable that there will be ever present surveilence, so focus should perhaps be more on establishing rules and criminal penalties for miss use and abuse of collected data.

  • Dead Putin™

    Google Glass is a great concept but it missing the “solving my problem” component. I was invited to get the Google Glass a year ago, and I passed because it doesn’t fit with my life style. It doesn’t solve any of my immediate problems or meeting my needs. It is probably best used by tourists, similar to the Segway. But as an everyday tool, I don’t see it being part of people’s lives.

  • Cybertronic

    Wow, what ridiculous reactions! Most people don’t understand
    Glass at all. Glass doesn’t record unless you ask it to! People think its
    recording all the time, it’s not.

    The price has nothing to do with it as an “elite toy”, it
    was to ensure the integrity of the “explorer program”. Remember this is a technology
    preview. Google didn’t have to share this with us at all, but they valued
    peoples input in the development.

    Michael, bad job at being an objective journalist today,
    your old-man, anti-technology side really came out today. Learn your facts
    before you make stuff up… “Making your eyes tired?” That’s just total BS! You
    and the anti-Google guest on the show should go have a party somewhere with
    your tin-foil hats.
    People should stop judging Glass unless they have actually used it. I don’t mean, tried it on for a few minutes, but used it for a week. Most will think its useful, neat technology with a lot of promise. Some wont think its useful, and that’s fine…but you don’t need to bash it.

    Sad day on public radio, you’re supposed to inform the
    public objectively, not creating more rumors about something you don’t understand,
    at all!

    I am a Glass Explorer.

    • Medical Device Engineer

      I tried glass on and found my eyes and brain were having trouble with the accommodation and convergence factors of my vision. I couldn’t leave them on for more than a couple of minutes. I was trying out an augmented reality game which in concept is very intriguing but the fact that your eyes and brain are trying to focus on objects that are further out than the glass but in reality are focusing on the glass surface is never going to work.

      • Cybertronic

        Thats just you…I know many, *many* people that don’t have that problem.
        Like I said, its fine that its not for everyone, but no need to bash it and say things like.. “Its never going to work” How narrow minded!

        • Medical Device Engineer

          In its current form it will never work. Look up “accommodation and convergence problem HMD” and you will learn that this applies to every human in the world not just me but YOU included. NVIDIA has the right idea with Near-Eye Light Field Displays, check that out and get educated,

          • Cybertronic

            You cant make *my* perception incorrect with a report! I simply don’t have the issue you are talking about. I wear Glass every day, do you?

          • Medical Device Engineer

            Ok Jordi.

          • Cybertronic

            Name calling, real mature! I guess that’s what you do, when you run out of arguments.

          • Medical Device Engineer

            He was my favorite character, the ship engineer. I don’t have time to argue my job is more important. Plus I am not going to try and change your perception just stating my perception and the physics to back it up.

      • chrisnfolsom

        Many people cannot see 3D movies either – but they do work well. Augmented reality glasses work for a large part of the population, and are getting better of course I would much rather go for a connection like the show in The Matrix.

        • Medical Device Engineer

          The focusing on the glass projection and then back to reality and then back to the augmented while the other eye is just confused at what the other is dong can be tiring. In a nutshell the muscles that control the shape of your lens in the eye viewing the projection has the possibility to develop behavior different from the other eye and in the long term could cause serious problems. We won’t know for sure until the guinea pigs have worn these devices every day for over a year.

          • chrisnfolsom

            In my “defense” I specifically referred to “Augmented Reality Glasses” and 3D which by definition are stereoscopic – although head aches have been a problem…. Regarding Google Glass I agree that it is hard for me to think that so much information visually so different “biomechanically” would not have some effects – and also since our brains are adaptive “physically” all that information coming through the right eye (do they have a left eye version?) will have to cause more work/change/processing in the left side of the vision processing paret of the brain..

          • Medical Device Engineer

            I am just thinking out loud here but thank you for your comments. I have some Google stock and am happy with it’s progress. Did you ever see the movie “The Jerk” with Steve Martin? Now I know it was ficticous, but don’t want Google to get sued.

          • chrisnfolsom

            Yes, and as we all know, we are mostly lucky in predicting trends – who knows what will happen, and what effects we have. When listening to the radio show they mentioned the speed of GG (2sec) over cell phones (23sec), but part of the problem is that we haven’t done everything to optimize cell phones – we have auto start on cars, but not cell phones? Why not have cell phone respond to voice as you pull it out of your pocket? That would bring the time down considerably – and they still don’t say that GG need a device to tether to – they are an interface, not a separate device – for now… Btw, read David Brins Earth – he discussed this 20+ years ago.

    • Joe Smitty, Jr.

      We are very fortunate that a Glass Explorer is “objectively” informing the neophytes and ill-informed.
      Hail to the Glass Explorer!

  • KevinMCo

    I think there’s a generational gap with regard to “being connected too much”. As a young person who has had access to the internet since the first grade, I feel uncomfortable when I’m unable to get online. It’s not that I must be using the internet at all times, but I want my loved ones and friends to be able to reach me in the way they want, when they want. I have Glass, and it absolutely relieves my “connection anxiety”. I know when I’m wanted by someone else, and more importantly, I know when I’m not.

    • John

      That’s actually very sad.

    • thucy

      That, I am sorry to say, is seriously pathetic.

    • chrisnfolsom

      Thanks for your opinion – some people here are only comfortable in “their” reality. Over time many new technologies have changes us in ways we can’t even know – air conditioning, freezers, cars, Radio, Printing – and now new interfaces with computers or “the cloud” – It’s “pathetic” to use the word “pathetic” or sad – and you will be left behind.

  • jamiebronson

    Hours a day looking at my phone to check SMS’s? HAHAHAHAHAAHHa I love folks who make up silly figures to try and make their case.

    • chrisnfolsom

      You must not be around teenagers much…. or soccer moms 😉

  • Robert Thomas

    Those who think that Glass is a technology “looking for a problem” may not have yet begun to have severe vision problems, that make it difficult to read a large print book or a restaurant menu or even see their watch face, much less the tiny text on a smart phone.

    It’s amusing that the first issue that comes to mind for so many people considering Glass is “bar etiquette”.

  • Todd

    Google, stick to “Search”, pay a healthy dividend to your investors, leave everything else alone, it’s just not your competency.

  • Ana

    I am not convinced that google glass is the answer to making technology less invasive to our daily lives (as compared to a smart phone)…neither is it the answer to bringing people “back into the real world.” Just because people have their “head up” doesn’t mean they are paying attention. Also, it seems that only a shift of priorities (measured use and consumption of social media/technology/information) can bring people back into their lives.

  • Carol Denney

    “Now everybody has them.” – re cell phones, etc.

    Really? Why do we still have homelessness, hunger, and
    poverty if this “innovation” is universal? Or do we have an ever-widening gap
    between rich and poor, technological mesmerized and left behind.


    Carol Denney
    1970 San Pablo Avenue #4
    Berkeley, CA 94702

  • Medical Device Engineer

    After the caller with the Einstein comment, Dr. Starner said how he is so disappointed with how people are so submerged in their cell phone usage and how he thinks that is a destructive behavior and in the next sentence says that is why he loves glass so much you bring it in closer. What a hypocrite, wouldn’t that make the behavior worse since the screen is now always in your face pinging you about every little thing. That is when I turned the radio off, not in it for the money $$$ yeah right. He is just upset he isn’t getting kick-backs when someone uses their cell phone. What a PHONEY!

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Fred Armisen on “glass”

  • Chemist150

    Solution: Carry a mobile wifi so that you’re he strongest wifi signal so when it gets close to you, it connects and you return a 404 for every request.

  • Francisco Velasco

    Whether it’s a Google brand or another company this is the technology that we will use once its tested and ready for the general public. I think it’s such a leap forward that we fight the change that this can bring (will bring). All the kid’s will have eyewear(i-wear) soon. We seem to be fighting progress here.

    As for the problem it solves: I wear glasses now and I do a lot of activities in which a phone is great, but “phone/computer” is a bit cumbersome in comparison to glasses.
    Port the Nike Running app to it and I dont have to hassle with arm bands or dropping my phone while I’m running (so annoying).
    * Keeping track of how much I’m running without opening the phone again and health vitals would be awesome!
    Port Cam-Scanner and Keep Notes. Keeping track of income and receipts on a daily basis is doable but can wind up being a mess when I get disorganized, I use apps like CamScanner and Keep to organize receipts and income daily but when I can do it while I’m in the process would be great, instant receipt organizing and record keeping. AND if youre in class snap a pic of the lecture and improve your studies!
    Make apps to record dangerous situations such as abuse by police or criminal activity in progress and real time accidents. These are problems in which its cumbersome and dangerous to take out your phone, but if its on your face: problem solved.
    How about augmented reality games whoa! This is gonna be augmented life. Get with it old dudes. <<<<<>>>>>

    • John

      It reminds me of Real Simple magazine. 250 pages of ads for stuff to buy to “simplify” your life.

  • Noah Hallett

    I just listened to the commentator bashing Glass with nearly no positive caveats. I personally am very excited about it hitting mainstream (and hopefully dropping below that $1500 price point). Here are five examples:

    1.) Cooking. I have a recipe pulled up and don’t want to get marinara sauce all over my phone
    2.) Driving. I would rather have a heads-up way to look up directions than have to look below my dashboard ever.
    3.) Working on my car. Both of my hands will be busy and covered in grease, I want to know what in the heck that part is/what my next step is.
    4.) Taking a call. On those occasions where I have my hands full and an important or eagerly awaited call comes in, I’d like to be able to answer it.
    5.) Playing with my dog/cat/child. My hands are almost certainly busy, but I want to take that photo to share with Grandma on the other side of the country.

    There is nothing creepy or inherently negative about any of these moments. And, all of these are things that most anyone would find useful.
    Could it use some aesthetic work? Yes. Does it require a whole new social paradigm? Sort of, the same rules that apply to phones tend to still apply: don’t be a creepy jerk. In terms of people getting too absorbed in it, yes it’s a potential problem – but that’s a problem with the users, not the technology.

  • AdamCoding

    Google glass is awesome!

  • chrisnfolsom

    Read Earth by David Brin – he thought of this 20+ years ago. In reality, the “problems” are also solutions, and since today we live in a synthetic environment which is not stable socially, economically and environmentally why are we clinging to it? With “new” technology that is orders of magnitude better then recent technologies and incorporates sensors and feedback which were not even able to be aggregated, analyzed and used to perhaps create better more responsive solutions – the questions is not if, but when these things happen and how the keep the powers that be from manipulating us even more – perhaps technology will be the great equalizer, or perhaps the opposite…but the game is already in motion embrace it or be left behind.

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