The Disruptive Power of Google Glass

Google Glass was introduced as a beta product in 2013 in to explore the technology’s potential, not as a completed product.  This technology was intended to be the next evolution in mobile computing as a “deeply integrated self-tracking tool” (Johnson, Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2014) aimed at the displacement of smartphone and enhancement of smartphone features due the convenience of wearing, rather than carrying, the device.

Early in Google Glass’s production it was seen as a disruptive technology in the fields of augmented reality and live streaming/capturing of video material in any circumstances with great social benefits in educational situations from healthcare to general teaching.  For example, “At UC San Francisco cardiothoracic surgeon Pierre Theodore, MD is using Google Glass during surgery. pre-loads CT and X-ray images needed for a procedure, and calls them up in his Google Glass to compare a medical scan with the actual surgical site.” (Ahier, 2014).  However along with these social benefits, social problems also emerged as people cited privacy as a major concern in public situations where data could be captured without the knowledge of those around the wearer of the technology.  The same is true of education, it cannot be assumed that all students automatically agree for their images to be captured and potentially stored and re-published without their express consent.

Google’s Astro Teller, when interviewed, said that the biggest mistake that Google made was that the engineers, despite producing an incredible new technology, would not have appreciated that having something at eye level would make people uneasy about their privacy and that Google Glass was a prototype that looked like a real product, so people treated it as such (Whitwam, 2015).  As a result, Google Glass was withdrawn in 2015, however it is intended to be displaced by a new version that focuses on the work market to decrease privacy concerns (Oliver, 2015).

The natural successor to Google Glass is already being discussed, the smart contact lens, which has been discussed since before Google Glass was introduced (Parviz, 2009).  This more discrete technology will have all of the features of Google Glass, whilst being powered by the heat of the human eye.  This new incarnation will have the same social benefits and potentially larger privacy concerns than Google Glass, however in the next 5 to 10 years, it looks like this will be the new standard in capturing live data.

References

Ahier, B. (2014). Google Glass could be a powerful tool for disruptive innovation in healthcare. Retrieved October 22, 2015, from http://www.govhealthit.com/blog/google-glass-could-be-powerful-tool-disruptive-innovation-healthcare

Johnson, L., Becker, S., Estrada, V., & Freeman, A. (2014). Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.editlib.org/p/130341/ http://www.editlib.org/p/130341/report_130341.pdf

Oliver, K. (2015). Google Glass 2: Everything you need to know. Retrieved October 22, 2015, from http://www.techradar.com/news/wearables/google-glass-2-release-date-price-features-1300484

Parviz, B. (2009). Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens. Retrieved October 22, 2015, from http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/bionics/augmented-reality-in-a-contact-lens

Whitwam, R. (2015). Google exec: Here’s where Glass went wrong. Retrieved October 22, 2015, from http://www.extremetech.com/mobile/201513-google-exec-heres-where-glass-went-wrong