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Google Glass – The Truth About Your Privacy

Introduction

I joined the Google Glass Explorer program a few months back joyful at the opportunity to get my hands on a new piece of technology to both use as a development tool and also just to experience. Let me just say using Glass is like nothing you have experience before. As an explorer I’ve already demo’d the device to what I would hazard to guess is a little under 100 people and the large majority were fascinated, captivated, and thoroughly grateful for the chance to experience the technology; So why all the hate in the news?

Privacy

Privacy seems to be people’s biggest concern when it comes to Google Glass and one that I don’t quite understand… As someone who specializes in the security realm of IT I can tell you right now Google Glass isn’t doing anything that cell phones haven’t been doing for years. I can hear the screams of naysayers already so let me just quell some of those thoughts you might be having as to “how it’s different”,

 

  • Cell Phones have to be out to take a picture and glass already is all the time!
    • Whens the last time you took notice of someone texting in your general direction with their smartphone? Exactly.
  • Cell Phones aren’t on your face and always recording!
    • This statement is disheartening and frustrating but I’ve heard it more than once. Let me point out Glass by default is on standby and much like your phone auto-locks Glass also auto-locks it has to do so to conserve battery life. The device was never designed to be “left on” for extended periods of times like peoples phones and I don’t expect it ever will be for many reasons.
    • To the second point glass is not always recording, not even close! To make glass record currently you have to either tap the side of the screen and navigate through menu’s or issue it a voice command to begin recording. On top of that video recording on glass can only capture video for about 30 minuets currently and the battery runs out so there isn’t too much to worry about.
  • Google just wants my information!
    • Of course they do. They use/sell your information(without your name on it) and with that profit/information they are making some of the most amazing technology known to man… and offering you the products that have shaped to internet into what it is today! Honestly wouldn’t you rather give your money and information to Google then give it to your government in taxes or buying another shirt at Walmart? Which is incidentally is the number one fortune 500 company in the world… take that and chew on it for a few minuets.

 

Beyond the simple concerns I feel like I need to vocalize my opinion on privacy. When it comes to privacy you don’t have any. Sorry Joe user but you’re not well equipped enough in today’s information age to be off the grid and you probably never will be so I recommend you stop letting other people tell you to be terrified of big internet companies and embrace the ones that truly care about their users like Google does.

Every website you visit has tracking cookies, every backbone fiber connections has governments monitoring them, every radio signal(wifi is radio too) is being capture or has the ability to, need I go on??? I honestly have to say you can’t worry about it at a certain point, you have to put faith in the companies your buying from to protect you. I personally think Google has earned that trust from it’s users and it’s certainly earned mine time and again and I think you should feel the same way I do about trusting them.

 

Heard Mentality/Envy

Here’s an interesting point that I often wonder about, when everyone first saw the demo for Google glass and the spectacular video that Google released showing it off everyone was incredibly excited for the product and thought it would change the world. But then somewhere along the line the term “Glasshole” got coined, and I’m not sure if it’s because it was catchy or because glass users are an “elite” minority at the present but this was the downfall of the good PR storm. More and more media sources were throwing around the term “Glasshole” mostly because Google was only offering the devices to a select group of developers and people that they believed would help move the project forward to get it ready for the consumer market faster.

I think the major issue was that they just showed the world the future and now only 3000 people get to use it… lets just queue the storm of envy coming from all angles. People are scared of the unknown, we’ve been programmed by our evolutionary and social constructs to be scared of what we don’t know until we know it and Google Glass is very unknown. It’s the first real step into the future since cellular telephones which by the way have been around since 1947 and I honestly believe it’s impact will be just as large.

 

In Closing

This posts intention was not to be rude but to educate people on the realities of Google Glass and other future technologies. We need to not let technophobe hold us back as a race and we should praise companies that are willing to push the boundaries of what is thought to be possible not try and stamp out new ideas that some people are uncomfortable with. If anyone wants to discuss any of the comments I make in this article please feel free to either post a reply here or you can contact me at ianmarmour@gmail.com or twitter.com/ianmarmour.

 

Too Long Didn’t Read

  • Google Glass isn’t infringing on your privacy more then a cellphone.
  • Google Glass doesn’t always record video (It can only record for 30 – 40 minuets per a charge).
  • Everyone already has your data on the web and you give it to them without thinking about it, why does Glass change anything?
  • You aren’t educated enough to properly secure yourself and when you do it breaks much of the webs functionality.
  • Google is the good guy helping shape the web into the place we love today!
  • Be nice to the Glass Explorer that lets you try their Glass
  • Stop using the word Glasshole (Unless you’re fine with other derogatory terminology too such as homosexual and racial slurs)

 

 

Sources

http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/google-glass-30-minute-videobattery/

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385124,00.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_X

http://qz.com/187997/google-glasss-battery-is-lousy-on-purpose-says-google-man/

http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/04/nsa-mocking-easter-egg-found-in-googles-new-email-encryption-plugin/

http://www.thewire.com/technology/2013/04/rise-term-glasshole-explained-linguists/64363/

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