Google is trying to fix Google Glass bugs

Google is trying to fix Google Glass bugs
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Every major tech company is working on computer glasses. None of them really want to go first.

Everyone remembers how Google Glass, and the “Glassholes” that used them in public, he became the laughingstock of the world. So they’ve been waiting, biding their time, refining your prototypesY From time to time making sure investors know no, they’re not going to let the first potential iPhone-sized opportunity slip away since the iPhone was introduced.

But now, Google itself is taking the next step. And whether you’ve been dreading the moment when Big Tech’s all-seeing eyes reappear in people’s heads or just counting down the days until you can have a hands-free camera-equipped computer, you should know we’re about to compete with them. .one more time.

Google shared this image to represent its prototype AR glasses.
Image: Google

Last Tuesday, Google revealed that it will start testing camera-equipped augmented reality glasses in public, and the company blog post contains numerous statements designed to reassure you that this will never again be the age of Glassholes. Google claims that it’s starting with “a few dozen” testers, and that the cameras and microphones in its glasses “do not support photography and videography.” They collect visual data, but Google wants you to imagine use cases like “translate the menu in front of you,” not record someone in front of you at a bar.

company Support page it also contains a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions such as “What is image data used for?”; “How long is it stored?”; and “How will I know if I am in close proximity to the products being tested?” Turns out there’s an LED that lights up if Google decides to save images for analysis and promises to delete them 30 days later.

For now, Google says its changing rooms won’t be used in schools, hospitals, churches, playgrounds and the like, though it’s silent on restaurants and bars, where Glass famously got users into trouble years ago

If you hate this idea, there’s probably nothing I could say to convince you otherwise, nor would I necessarily want to; I will not pretend to know if such an apparatus should exist in the world. I just think you need to realize that if Google’s test doesn’t end in total disgust, it won’t be long before Apple, Microsoft and others throw their long-awaited glasses into the ring as well.

And in 2022, I wouldn’t really bet on disgust, mainly because we’ve been pointing things out in public with phones for a decade, documenting every element of our lives, to prepare for what’s to come.

Since the day in 2012 when a team of Google paratroopers landed at the Moscone Center With the first public prototypes of Google Glass, the use of mobile cameras has skyrocketed. Not only make phone cameras completely destroy point and shoot cameras but social norms have also changed. Back in 2012, it was still a bit weird to pull out a camera in a bar or restaurant; now that would be weird No to take a selfie with friends or take some photos of a particularly tasty meal. And the fear that you might accidentally capture a stranger in your shot? It is such a normal everyday occurrence that Google uses a “magical” background person eraser as a selling point for its Pixel phones.

The Snap Pixy is a self-flying camera.
Photo by Vjeran Pavic/The Verge

In addition, mobile cameras are not only recording when someone thinks of taking their smartphone out of their pocket; they are flying through the air. Now anyone can buy a self-driving camera from Snap for $230 to film public places robotically, and we’ve had nearly a decade to get used to the idea that someone else’s camera could be looking down on you. The vast majority of the consumer drone revolution occurred after Google Glass – The DJI Phantom was not released until 2013.

Google Glass also preceded the widespread adoption of 4G LTE, which brought live streaming and instant video publishing to the masses. Is the reason you can record the police and maybe possibly hold them accountable. (Remember when the Google Glass experts wrote about the concept of “sousveillance”, a form of reverse surveillance where people use their own cameras to watch the watchers? (Phones already got us halfway there.)

Police push an elderly man to the ground in Buffalo, New York, on June 4, 2020.

An elderly man is pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo, New York on June 4, 2020. Someone was filming.
Image: Mike Desmond/WBFO-FM Buffalo

Public spaces are filled with cameras pointing in every direction now, and there is very little expectation of privacy outside of your home. Society has also not posed many successful challenges to the proliferation of cameras. And even if filming was illegal, how would you control it? It’s not easy to tell if someone is actually recording, checking out TikTok, or just working on the go.

As my former colleague Ellis Hamburger said in 2014, we are all glassholes now. And I feel like that has only become more true through the pandemic, as even tech-averses have begun to rely on pocket computers for basic needs like socializing and food. Over the past two years, I’ve seen people who gave up technology for things they could do in person reluctantly turn to Amazon, DoorDash, Facebook, Instacart, and more. And I suspect that some of them will be more open-minded about the benefits of technology now.

Even headphones may not carry the stigma they did due to the pandemic. VR usage skyrocketed during 2020 lockdownseven if the overall sales figures They are still relatively small. The modern rise and fall and the rise of virtual reality is, again, something that happened after The fateful launch of Google Glass in 2012.

The pandemic could also end up resetting some of our social norms, like masking, which has the handy side effect of hiding your identity from cameras while also slowing the spread of germs. It is not too difficult to imagine countries that would tolerate citizens wearing a mask similar to Bane also tolerating other head-worn devices. You may remember a time when Bluetooth headsets were considered too silly and rude to wear in publicand now they have completely normalized.

Snapchat’s fourth-generation Spectacles are the first with AR, and the company is rolling them out privately rather than selling them publicly. You have to be careful after the glass.
Photo by Amanda Lopez for The Verge

Furthermore, Google is not the first to dip a toe in these waters. Snapchat is already activated the fourth generation of their Spectacles camera glassesgoal has its Ray-Ban storiesand it could be argued that Meta Aria Project Test it’s pretty similar to what Google is doing right now. None have yet generated the kind of stench that Google Glass experienced a decade ago.

Sure, that could change if a future pair of glasses turns out to be more intrusive than our existing phones and drones. There will definitely be serious questions about data collection and privacy, particularly given the track records of some of the companies that build them.

But in 2022, I think the biggest challenge facing Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft and Snap is figuring out how to create AR experiences that we’d actually pay for: experiences that are more compelling or convenient than what phones already offer. As we write in May When Google teased some real-time language translation goggles, the company had an intriguing idea:

It is very difficult to watch that video and see a Glasshole. But it’s also too easy to spot the vaporware.

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