Discreet wearable computing

It would be an understatement to say that Google Glass is not getting the warmest reception. Restaurants, bars and cafes have banned Google Glass users. The UK Cinema Association has moved to ban Google Glass over piracy concerns. Casinos have joined the fray. And the term glasshole says it all, really.

Yet, we are under constant surveillance, our every move is being recorded by mobile phones, and it is almost impossible for anything interesting to happen without it being uploaded to YouTube. Why are then people still obsessed with Google Glass? Where are the bans on mobile phones in casinos, bars and restaurants? If we are worried about privacy and surreptitious surveillance, then we are already late to stop it.

What seems to be of concern for some people is the “always on” nature of Google Glass, which seems to be fair enough. But what about other types of wearable computing that are starting to make their way to shops? Take Android Wear, a device that “organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask.” It does not record video directly, but it can be paired with mobile devices to record by voice activation, and it also has all sort of privacy implications by the recording of everything you do.

Consider the Amazon Fire Phone, which will have 4 cameras (some with 120 degrees of view) that will be always on, recording everything you do to try to guess when you might want to buy something from Amazon.

And all the above is not even considering the iWatch from Apple, and a possible wearable device from Microsoft. The reality is that Google Glass is just the tip of the iceberg, and while it took all the wearable attention, the argument has already been lost, and these devices are here.

So next time you see a place banning Google Glass, look closely at the people around, and chances are there will already be someone with some sort of gear that can do the same things as Glass can, maybe even better.


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