Recently, Google Glass has sparked the interest of consumers and developers all over the world. As Google begins the pre-ordering process to developers for $1500, the world still remains unsure of exactly how the product will work and how it will change the social interactions of humans. Fans of the device are already touting the benefits and discussing how Glass will move humans into a whole new world of technology while opponents of the device are voicing concerns over privacy issues, security risks and changes to the cultural foundation. Although the end result is likely to be a mix of positives and negatives, Google has made it obvious that they continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the world of technology.
How it Works
Google Glass devices do not function the same as regular glasses and have smaller lenses than traditional eyeglasses. The device is worn over the ears but only covers a small portion of the eyes. Wearers are able to interact with the device through eye movements and small gestures with the help of the eye-tracking mechanism that is rumored to be utilized. Basically, Glass functions as a mobile device that does not require you to use your hands.
For example, if you are on vacation and walking through a historical landmark, you can easily Google the information and read interesting tidbits about the area. The concern with this situation comes when consumers are more focused on what is on their screen than they are on enjoying the beauty around them.
Imagine if you are in a conversation with another person who is wearing Google Glass. It can be confusing and frustrating to know when they are talking to you and when they are speaking to the device. You are also left unaware if someone chooses to take a picture of you and use it for their own purposes. These are just a few of the concerns over how Google Glass can affect social interactions and privacy rules.
Proposed Legislation in West Virginia
Lawmakers in West Virginia are addressing some concerns they have with the device by proposing a new piece of legislation that would ban drivers from wearing Google Glass while driving a car. This is the first state to address concerns in the form of legislation, although other lawmakers have been hesitant to voice their support for the product.
In the new bill, legislators describe the device as “a computing device which is worn on the head and projects visual information into the field of vision of the wearer.” Concerns are raised regarding the information that is displayed to the wearer and how it will affect their field of vision. According to lawmakers, drivers will be more focused on what is on their device rather than on what is on the road in front of them. They feel the situation will quickly become an issue falling in the category of distracted driving.
Although lawmakers are concerned about the device’s effect on drivers, they have no plans to limit usage of the device any farther. According to one representative, being in a public space requires you to give up your expectation of privacy, allowing others to take pictures of you as they wish. This particular lawmaker has been a vocal advocate against texting and driving and limiting the use of mobile devices while operating a vehicle.
Although Google did not respond directly to news reports about the new law, developers feel that Google Glass could actually be beneficial for drivers. Developers feel that Glass could help to improve safety on the country’s roads and reduce the risk of accidents, operating with a heads-up display that informs drivers of objects in their path. The real effects of Google Glass on driver safety won’t be determined for a while, as the product does not have a release date for the everyday consumer.