I've expressed my weariness and apprehension over Google Glass, the hands free computer that looks like a Star Trek prop, before. Not only do I think the device looks kind of dumb, but I worry about devices like this isolating people even further, and I also have some concerns over some very real issues having to do with privacy.
But, as Google Glass gets closer and closer to being a reality for the average consumer, and we are starting to see what it can actually do, I will admit that it does seem pretty cool. As you might have expected, developers are coming up with some pretty interesting uses for the device.
Here's an example: one developer, named Mike DiGiovanni, has created an app that allows Google Glass users to take a picture simply by winking.
You can see a short video clip of how it works here. The wink it slow and deliberate (if not you might wind up taking thousands of pictures a day!) and there is a light that flashes when the picture is taken.
"Winking really changes things. You might not thing it’s hard to say 'Ok, Glass Take a Picture' or even just tap a button. But it’s a context switch that takes you out of the moment, even if just for a second. Winking lets you lifelog with little to no effort. I’ve taken more pictures today than I have the past 5 days thanks to this. Sure, they are mostly silly, but my timeline has now truly become a timeline of where I’ve been," DiGiovanni wrote on his Google+ page.
The app, which is currently available through github, of course raises some thorny privacy issues. Yes, there is a light that flashes, but being able to take a picture hands free will obviously cause distress among people who worry about having their picture taken without their knowledge. Google Glass developer Robert Scoble has tried to downplay fears of privacy invasion, saying that it would be impossible to record someone without their knowing because the projector is always on.
"First of all, the microphone isn't all that great. Second of all, I have to be right next to you, while wearing this weird contraption, looking straight at you, if I want to grab good video of you, all while the light in the Glass is on (if you are recording Glass' projector is ALWAYS on, which warns you I'm doing something)," he wrote on his Google+ account.
But with pictures the light that flashes is brief, and without any hand gestures, it will become less easy to notice if someone is taking a picture. Prepare for this to become much more controversial in the months ahead.
Privacy issues aside, Google has opened up Glass to developers, and is obviously eager to see what they come up with.
Last month, Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers joined together to form a new program called Glass Collective, an investment syndicate that will provide financing and support to entrepreneurs that want to develop apps on Google Glass.
To submit an idea to Glass Collective, all a developer has to do is contact investors at one of the three firms, and they will jointly review the pitches. Google has also set up Google Mirror API, which is what developers will use to build services for Glass.
(Image source: http://www.workerscompensation.com)