Google Glass has been making the headlines a lot over the past week, following a software update which added an HDR shooting mode, a Glass-initiated marriage proposal, and the rise and fall of the first adult-themed app. Discussion on the privacy issues raised by Glass is never far away though, and Google’s Larry Page has been trying to put those fears to rest while speaking at a shareholders meeting.
Answering a question from a shareholder, who described Glass as a “voyeur’s dream,” he’s quoted as saying, “People worry about all sorts of things that actually, when we use the product, it’s not that big a concern.” He continued to say that none of us, “Collapse in terror,” when someone walks into a public bathroom carrying a smartphone, and we won’t do when someone comes in wearing Glass either. Essentially, Page is saying we should wait until we’re using it before making any sweeping judgements.
From the outside, it’s easy to see both sides of this argument, as Glass is no more capable than a smartphone, but it’s very obvious if someone is using a phone to record video, but far less so – particularly for the less tech-savvy – with Glass. Of course, Page praised Glass, saying he loves using the high-tech specs, but we can’t help thinking he may feel differently should he be caught in a private moment by a fellow Glass wearer, who then published the results on the Internet.
Page said Google has been working hard to safeguard the privacy of the general public, and won’t be approving any facial recognition software, but not everyone is convinced Google is doing enough. A Congressional privacy group has sent eight questions to Page, all related to Glass and how Google is protecting privacy, demanding answers by June 14. On more than one occasion, Google has commented that new technology, “always raises issues,” but it’s certainly having to fight hard to reassure the world Glass doesn’t mean privacy is a thing of the past.