According to a report published by Venturebeat, the New York Police Department has started beta testing Google Glass in order to determine how useful the technology would be to patrol officers. Since Google isn’t working directly with representatives of the department, it’s likely that officials signed up for the Glass Explorer program and eventually received hardware to test after paying the $1,500 fee for early access to each device. According to a statement released to Venturebeat, the NYPD is also curious how the technology could improve efficiency when in the middle of an investigation.
Of course, the NYPD would have to build specific Google Glass apps in order to access internal databases. The San Francisco police department has already started this process by connecting police databases to Samsung S4 smartphones being used by officers on the streets. Officers can pull up information about wanted suspects such as rap sheets as well as mug shots. In addition, the San Francisco officers can run warrant checks on the smartphone, ideal when walking around town.
Hypothetically, Google Glass could elevate the experience by using a facial recognition application connected to the police databases. It would also be useful when recording an interview with a suspect or recording voice memos when in the field. It’s possible that Google Glass could help undercover officers conduct surveillance of a subject, but it’s also possible that the device would be far too noticeable and may draw attention.
Assuming testing goes well, the NYPD could order more of the devices after Google Glass becomes widely available to the general public. Google representatives have yet to indicate when Google Glass will be publicly available, but a recent statement mentioned that Google is moving toward a “wider consumer launch” during 2014. It’s likely that Google Glass will be available on the Google Play store as well as other retailers after a public launch.