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Google Glass for the majority is a long way off. In fact, if you go to the ‘MyGlass’ app page on Google Play, you’ll see, for those without Glass:
..there's a picture of a puppy in pyjamas. So not a total waste of time after all.
Puppies aside, Google professes Glass (like all G products) was built to break down barriers. The idea is to make things easier and more seamless; to free up hands and time.
Here at Econsultancy, the high-falutin’ Editorial team has some philosophical concerns. Our Head of Social, Matt, was quick to point out that Glass will essentially create a simulacrum of the world, a sort of 1:1 map that is neither real nor artifice (I direct you to Borges’ On Exactitude in Science).
Whilst we’re fans of Google, we’re sceptical about just what third party developers will come up with for Glass.
There’s arguably never been such a product; a piece of hardware that fundamentally alters perception and interaction with the world. Even smartphones are a false precedent for Glass, but perhaps do offer a dirty window on our increased device reliance (dare I smush these words together and create ‘deviance’?).
Even with well-intentioned developers, might third party apps add unwanted lustre to our already homogenous cityscapes?
In this post I make some philosophical predictions, as seen through some nascent apps. Of course, it’s a lot more fun to cast concerns with a negative spin; forgive the hack approach!
Here’s what Google Glass will destroy…..
Surely we don’t need to be prompted to have faith? Yep, some of the prayer reminders do seem to be for the absent-minded devotee, but JewGlass also directs to synagogues and kosher restaurants.
2. Microwave meals
NavCook and KitchMe
A prime example of Glass apps that can solve an old problem. With recipes displayed in front of your eyes, there’s no need to ruin the phone or buy that hefty cookery book (at least without access to app content). Will I face more stigma for the Fray Bentos pie?
Constantly reminded when you're breaking from routine? It could get worse with Google Now and Google Calendar serving right into your eye, with suggestions built on months of habits, and meetings you are ever-more beholden to. Remember, you've got to opt-in with Google Now, it's all or nothing. :-)
4. Those scenes in movies where a guy walks into a bar and sees breaking news on a television
‘No news is good news’? ‘No news’ no longer an option.
This is something we are already familiar with, on our iPhones and such. If every app pushes you notifications, no news becomes virtually impossible. News can bring change, and change can bring anxiety.
The NY Times and CNN give you a new card once an hour with a roundup of new stories.
Remember those old scenes? Never again, just a bar stool and Glass.
Winky allows you take a photograph with a wink. There has already been much discussion of this capacity of Glass, to observe virtually unnoticed. We’ve already seen a YouTube generation born, knowing that anything they do can be recorded and uploaded. Hopefully Glass' inherent undermining of privacy will help to push society towards a greater culture of seeking consent. But it could get messy first...
6. Cocking your thumb and looking down the barrel of your forefinger (or, simply, pretending)
This isn’t quite Glass (new VR game, Oculus Rift, from creator of Doom), but we’ve long been talking about the moment Doom comes to Glass. A skin over the world and the ability to splat everything without anyone noticing. No more will children learn to simply pretend.
7. Getting away from it all
Through-Glass allows other people’s photographs to pop up in your eye as they are taken. An end to the cloistered view - everyone in your face just like they're now on your phone.
8. Thinking on your feet
YourShow allows you to check your presentation notes as you talk and strut about the stage like Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky. Will ad-libbers become few and far between?
9. Meeting people at a party
This is the other much-spoken about use for Glass – displaying relationship status. Icebreaker allows you to gamify good conversation by ‘hunting’ other users and snapping them with Glass (whilst trying to get them to like you, I guess). Those happy accidents, meeting someone at an impromptu soiree and then spending thirty years with them, will be eroded further than dating sites have already eroded them.
If Icebreaker doesn’t get rid of this, Glass Praiser will, by sending you one ego-boosting message every day. No need for that mantra. Shiny, happy people.
11. Dude, where's my car?
Tesla links Glass to your Tesla Model S, giving you plenty of info about your vehicle, from charge in the car (it’s electric) to routes and whether it’s locked or unlocked. No more losing your car and mounting a circuitous, drug-heavy plan to get it back.
12. The hilarious social faux pas
People+ is a bit sketchy about what it will provide, but it seems to be some sort of contact directory which will almost certainly involve imagery (and possibly sound?), so you’ll never forget who you’ve met. And we'll no longer be able to laugh when our friends shout 'Jeff' in Sally's direction.