Seeing Society Through Google Glass

Seeing Society Through Google Glass
Skylar James

Google Glass, that is. With all the hype, it seems easy to guess what Google talked about at Google I/O.

Surprisingly, they didn’t talk about Glass that much. This year, says, it was all about APIs, or the application-programming interface. Google repeatedly asked, “How can we make better apps?”

The topic of APIs centered on location services.

Specifically, the focus was on improvements, such as integration of 3D map technology and movement-recognition into Google Maps, a battery-saving location API, and an API that will use an accelerometer to know whether users are driving, cycling, walking, or running.

I wonder what product Google is most interested in improving with these apps.

That’s right, folks.

It’s all about Google Glass

Even though it wasn’t the theme of Google I/O 2013, Glass remained the ostentatious elephant in the room. Many at the conference fearlessly donned their Glass at Google I/O. They did this knowing they’d be around kindred spirits and free of the stares and questions Glass-ers usually experience.

“Are you recording this right now?”

“Did you just wink? I think you just took a picture of me. Creeper.”


Google Glass lacks in apps. Google calls the Glass apps “Glassware,” and even though there aren’t many, all that is about to change.

According to, the new apps will make the device much more attractive to the average user. says there will be an app that delivers news from CNN, fashion from Elle, reminders and notes from Evernote, and social networking from Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Impacts of Google Glass

Imagine a scene where you walk down the sidewalk as you talk on the phone with your friend. You see many others around you are also on their phones. Or maybe they’re sending texts or emails, or on Google Maps for directions, or looking up restaurants in the area.

This picture looks pretty familiar. We see this almost every day; people use their smartphones constantly to communicate and find information.

Now, imagine the same scene, but with one notable difference. You’re talking to your friend with Google Glass. The phone calls, texts, emails, and Google searches going on around you are also being done from Glass.

It’s quite a different picture.

There’s a ton of talk for and staunchly against Google Glass, and both sides have spent some time recently to imagine how Google Glass will change us.

Fashion forward?

Fast forward to that sidewalk scene, in which everyone wears Google Glass. If we get to that point, it means we’ve accepted Glass, not only as a usable technology, but also as a fashion statement.

Glass looks like a pair of glasses with no lenses and a tiny rectangle of glass situated somewhere near the user’s right eyebrow. A thick piece of plastic in your color choice (black, gray, white, orange, or light blue) runs down the length of the right side.

That plastic strip houses the computer, sound device, and battery.

Are your pockets deep enough for this?

Engadget’s review of Google Glass is mixed, at best. The reviewer feels positive about some of Glass’ features, but is critical of others.

One of the most notable negatives is the price.

According to Engadget, you can expect to pay $1,500 for the device. That’s significantly more expensive than the average smartphone, which starts at around $200, according to

Other costs come into play when you use Glass. The device cannot access data to operate on its own. Let’s not forget if you are are in a rural area with access only to satellite internet providers, you will have access issues. You’ll have to pair it with your smartphone to use it on the go. Many cellphone plans won’t support that synchronization without an additional $40 on your monthly bill.

Is this the end of privacy?

Many people think so. One of the most noted features of Google Glass is the ability to take photos and record videos easily and discreetly.

Simply say, “OK Glass” and give the appropriate command. Or, with the new app called “Wink,” all the user has to do is slowly wink his or her eye to capture the moment. Users can immediately upload to Google+ any photos and videos taken with Glass.

Some might say the danger of this is the ease with which stalkers, sexual predators, and generally creepy people can capture photos and videos of individuals without their knowledge. The technology of Google Glass will make it easier for predators to operate.

According to, however, the threat is to relationships and social interaction. The technology to snap photographs and record videos of people without their knowledge already exists. However, Google Glass brings that technology to the forefront.

It puts it on our faces.

Even though most Glass users won’t take pictures of people without permission, people might begin to act more cautiously around those wearing Google Glass. Time says, “If there’s one thing we should really worry about, it’s that we’ll treat each other differently, and trust each other less, when Glass is around.”

Google Glass In Action

Skylar James

Skylar is a professional writer.