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Google Glassholes, Health and Privacy Concerns

Updated on July 1, 2016
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Alfred is a long-time teacher and computer enthusiast who works with and troubleshoots a wide range of computing devices.

Google Glass is a wearable computer in the shape of head mounted display which borrows the shape of your typical eyeglass. Unlike the eyeglass lens however, the right eye lens is laced with a rectangular piece of glass, via which visual communication takes place. Despite the good about it concerns about privacy, health and glass-hole behavior have been brought to the fore.

Looking inside Google glass wearable technology
Looking inside Google glass wearable technology

Google Glass is meant to be the companion and extension of your smartphone. Glass functions can be activated through voice and touch/swipe commands.

It is much like your smartphone voice assistant and touch device only this time with projected visual capabilities. Instead of picking up your smartphone and reading notes and mails, Glass will offer visual display of your notes and mails much like using a projector. Various activities can be accomplished via available apps.

Google glass allows you to surf the internet; gives you map directions via Google maps; allows you take pictures and record videos; enable you chat with friends, and do lots of other stuff in visual and audio modes.

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

Google Glass wearable computer is surely a revolutionary device in the wearable technology arena, but turning consumers into computer glasses will breed its own concerns!

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 become big issues.

An eye sensor and camera included in Glass, transmits wearer information that should otherwise remain private.

Wireless and Bluetooth sensors around the head also revive questions about radiation. This especially when wearers spend hours on end drooling on Google glass: Google warns against this though!

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

  • Privacy concerns relate to the eye sensor and camera which may be abused by glass-holes to play around with private information.
  • Medical concerns are related to eye strain and other effects, and although research is still inconclusive, many are worried that Bluetooth and wireless connectivity may increase exposure to some forms of head related cancers.
  • Distraction concerns relate to consumers becoming a menace to society following behavioral disorientation owing to glass exposure.

Google Glass Privacy Concerns

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

Glass makes use of eye sensors, which will more than intrude in your life. The sensor is intended to help Google collect data about wearer shopping habits, like check-in and check-out of stores and entertainment spots. The information can be used and shared for all the wrong reasons.

The second group of people that feel offended by the intrusive nature of Glass is the general public.

Remember when you walked down the street and an embarrassing incident happened just ahead of you? You probably wished you had a camera to record the incident.

Still, even if you had one, you did not do so because you feared public opinion. The act of raising your camera to take a snap was and is still impolite in public eye.

With Google glass, however, few people will suspect your mischief, especially if you only have to wink to take a picture!

Google Glass will make it possible for users to look where they are not supposed to, and this includes unsuspected 'winkers' taking pictures. 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! Talk about hackers and the love of scandals.

To compound the concern of winking to snap, is the matter of facial recognition. There is 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 owner poring through your data by merely taking your snapshot and making use of facial recognition!

Of course Google says this feature is not available at launch! But it is not hard to imagine developers getting smart with third party hacks.

Google Glass Health Concerns

 Eye Related Concerns

Health concerns related to use of Google glass is picking steam, just as wide use of the same is picking steam.

Wearing of 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 a new era of wearable eyeglass, purely for leisure, 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 guidelines.

Doctors have repeatedly cautioned against extended use of any eyeglass: for whatever reason, living without an eyeglass is the best option for anyone wishing to maintain good vision for many years. Of course, the visually impaired needs ones, for one reason or another; but the eyeglass will cause eye strain and may impair the eyes in the long run. It is therefore much safer not to wear an eyeglass at all!

Consecutive one hour use of any eyeglass will result into light sensitivity, dizziness, burning and other eye complications. This usually results from looking through glass without blinking, resulting in eye dryness!

According to Dr Joseph Marcola, ‘eye glasses WORSEN rather than improve vision’.

Hangover is when you indulge in alcohol abuse and wake up feeling like hell in the morning. It is caused by dehydration, bad eating habits, sex type, congener and mixing energy drinks.

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

 Cancer Related Concerns

One important function that Google has managed to keep out of Glass is cellular communication. And this is for good reasons too.

Cell phone communication is electromagnetic in nature because it uses radio frequency waves. This is known to emit some level of radio frequency radiation. Such radiation can easily become implosive since the user will have to wear Glass most of the day. Another possible reason for not including cellular transmission could rightly be due to battery power. The miniature battery in Glass could possibly never handle energy demands of cellular radios.

Though the radio is out of the picture, Glass makes use of Bluetooth and wireless sensors to enable wireless communication. Though not as definitive as radio frequency, wireless devices are not being left out of the loop as long term cancer causative.

What makes the Glass case more curious owes to it being worn around the head all day long.

And rightly so, Google support page gives warnings about those that shouldn't wear its glasses: including children under 13 and eye patients. I guess the admission is just a clue about the seriousness of Glass abuse, though some argue that Google is simply making the FAQ as a precautionary legal backdrop.

One argument against anti-Google Glass theory is that computer users spend hours on end in front of their laptops and should therefore cope well with less than a few hours seeing through Glass. In a typical interaction with the computer though, a user sits a foot or more away from the laptop screen and the eyes tend to wonder around the room at regular intervals; but a glass an inch or less away from the eye is a different story.

The eye also goes through a degree of ‘confusion’ when adjusting visual attention from normal binocular view, to one eye view. To compound this there is the adjustment that follows the eye shifting between reality and glass view.

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Concerns about Google Glass-holes!

There is no denying that a handful of Google Glass wearers will become out-right idiots by abusing its capabilities.

Main social concerns related to glass abuse include:

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

Distraction of this nature can find its way into the living room, the office and other places. It can easily become a public order nuisance.

As illustrated in this California law Google Glass can get the driver in big trouble. And rightly so, one driver got ticketed just for that!

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

How to Beat Google Glass Nausea

All signs indicate that Google glass wearables are here to stay - the side effects not- withstanding. All society has to do is adapt.

This is because any technology device has to run its full course before handing over to the next big thing. Maybe the next big thing will be universal chip implants which would make complaints about wearable displays far fetched.

From the ENIAC in 1940s, computing devices can only get smaller, and the functionality much closer and useful to man. Talk about cyborgs and humanoids!

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

  • As far as Google 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 sanction or abolish use of any form of heads up display in a manner that threatens the privacy of the community.
  • The same goes with the concern of distraction: Limitations and punishment may have to be enforced on those that abuse Google and other forms of wearable devices.


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