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The Bad Sides of Google Glass

Updated on November 16, 2017
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Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.

Looking inside Google Glass
Looking inside Google Glass

Google Glass is a head-mounted display which borrows the shape of the everyday eyeglass. Unlike in the latter though, Google Glass lens is laced with a rectangular piece of glass, via which visual communication takes place.

Google Glass whose functions can be activated through voice and touch/swipe commands is meant to be the companion and extension of your smartphone. It is much like voice assistant and touch device, only this time with projected visual capabilities.

Instead of picking up your smartphone to read notes and emails, Glass will offer visual display of the same much like using a projector.

Various activities can be accomplished via available apps.

For example, it allows you to surf the internet; give map directions, take pictures, record videos and chat with friends.

All kinds of communication using Google glass are accomplished via:

  • Display
  • Camera
  • Touchpad

Consumers should avoid turning into glassholes as a result of abusing Google glass head mounted display
Consumers should avoid turning into glassholes as a result of abusing Google glass head mounted display | Source

The Bad Sides of Google Glass

Apart from the money that consumers have to fork out to acquire Google Glass, the consequences regarding privacy, health, distraction and glass-hole behavior will continue to blind its advantages.

Its eye sensor and camera is capable of transmitting information that should otherwise remain private.

Wireless and Bluetooth sensors around the head also revive questions about radiation. This especially when the user wears it all day long: Google warns against this though!

Overall concerns about Google Glass are related to privacy, medical and distraction questions:

Privacy Concerns

Google Glass will intrude into the privacy of both user and the rest of the society. This is possible courtesy of the inbuilt eye sensor and camera, in particular.

The sensor is intended to help Google collect data about user shopping habits, like check-ins and check-outs of stores and entertainment spots. The information can be used and shared for all the wrong reasons.

The general public also feels offended by its intrusive nature. Google Glass makes it possible for users to look where they are not supposed to. A user will simply 'wink' to take pictures of an unsuspecting public. Private moments will become public information via social networking sites, and one can only wonder how far that information can go.

The next mischief will probably involve Google or other snoops wanting to see everything that you see. Scary when you think about it. The Glass becomes Google camera and will be capable of broadcasting private information online!

To compound the concern of winking users is the matter of facial recognition. There are huge digital footprints online about many of us. A lot of people have gotten digitalized on the internet and the number is increasing every day.

Imagine a Google Glass user poring through your data by merely taking your snapshot and making use of facial recognition!

Of course, Google said this feature was not available at launch, but it is debatable if this will remain so for long.

Health Concerns

Eye Related Concerns

Wearing any kind of eyeglass has been a reserve of the optically impaired and those seeking eye protection from dirt and sunshine.

Google Glass on other hand pioneers an era of wearable eyeglass, purely for leisure and non-medical prescriptions. Interaction with the glass is supposed to be minimal as per Google advisory, but it is not a surprise that users would wish to abuse the caution.

Doctors have repeatedly cautioned against the extended use of eyeglass. For whatever reason, living without glass is the best option for anyone wishing to maintain good vision for many years. Of course, the visually impaired need them, for one reason or another. but the eyeglass will cause eye strain and may impair the eyes in the long run.

Consecutive one hour use of any eyeglass will result in light sensitivity, dizziness, burning and eye dryness! According to Dr. Joseph Marcola, ‘eyeglasses WORSEN rather than improve vision’.


Google Glass health warning about the heads up display
Google Glass health warning about the heads up display | Source

Cancer Related Concerns

Glass makes use of Bluetooth and wireless sensors to enable wireless communication. Though not as definitive as radio frequency, wireless devices can lead to long-term cancer.

What makes the case against Glass even more interesting is the fact that it may be worn around the head all day long.

And rightly so, Google support page gives warnings about those that shouldn't wear its glasses. These including children under 13 and eye patients.

One argument against anti-Glass theory is that computer users spend hours on end in front of their laptops, unlike Glass users who use them for less than a few hours. In a typical interaction with a computer though, the user sits a foot or more away from the screen and the eyes tend to wander around the room at regular intervals. Glass meanwhile, is an inch or less away from the eye.

Concerns about Glass-holes!

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There is no denying that a handful of Google Glass wearers will become out-right idiots while using it.

Main social concerns related to its abuse include:

  • Donning it at all times and looking like an idiot.
  • Talking to it loudly in public places.
  • Glass drivers will be tempted to peek into glasses while driving.
  • Glass-holes will pretend to pay attention while actually busy with Glass.

These kinds of distraction may find its way into the living room, the office and other places, and become a public order nuisance.

As illustrated in this California law Google Glass got the driver in big trouble, and rightly so, one driver got ticketed!

In Feb 2014, Google listed Dos, and Don'ts guidelines that consumers should adhere to lest they become glass-holes.

Google Glass Review From Engadget

Beating Google Glass Nausea

All signs indicate that Google glass wearables are here to stay - the side effects notwithstanding. All society has to do is adapt.

Here is what you can probably do for the time being:

  • As far as Glass health concerns go, avoid it if you can, and health experts have to make conclusive research and enlighten the masses about the real dangers.
  • Google Glass privacy concerns, however, will remain hard to contain. It is up to governments to abolish the use of heads-up in a manner that threatens the privacy of the community.
  • Limitations may have to be enforced on those that abuse Google and other forms of wearable devices.

© 2013 Alfred Amuno

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