Google Glass, while now in testing mode with their selected “explorers,” is marking the next technological step to hyper-connectivity for those who choose to adopt it. Stories are now cropping up featuring Google’s test group individuals, who include specialists within their field, such as surgeons, the police force, and computer programmers who are beta-testing the product before its official release later this year.
Google Glass represents the next step to seamless hyper-connectivity, and whether or not the wider public will rapidly embrace it remains to be seen. What possible social quagmires might be involved with Google Glass’ ability to record pretty much everything? In a similar vein to the social media landscape that now permeates our existence, here are a few scenarios that might happen with the newest and latest technology like Google Glass:
Current-Day Scenario: Silent dinners where everyone is around the table, texting their friends, sharing their latest updates on FourSquare and Facebook and playing games on their smartphone.
Future scenario: Dinner where everyone is around the table, but they’re no longer looking down into their smartphones and avoiding eye contact. Everyone’s wearing Google Glass and everyone’s looking at each other – but it’s hard to tell who’s really listening. Maybe they’re tuning in and out of the conversation and in fact watching a short movie on their glass? Or maybe they’re recording your thoughts to replay at a future date as you’re confiding your darkest fears to them. That’s the same thing as having a real conversation, right?
Current-Day Scenario: Nowadays folks play games like the “phone stack” game in order to gain some quality face-time with their friends. Simply, how the game works is everyone puts their phones in the middle of the dinner table, and as Vanity Fair’s Michael Carl plays it – whoever succumbs to looking at their phone before the tab arrives pays for dinner.
Future scenario: Your friends may just start trading glasses at dinnertime to see what everyone’s got loaded up on their pair of specs. Instead of impatiently yawning their way through the pictures they can flip through their friend’s pictures in no time. Call it the modern-day mindshare.
Current-Day Scenario: Everyone says “cheese” for a group family photo with someone taking their picture with their brilliant digital camera or smartphone.
Future scenario: Cameras will be extinct, having navigated towards a stronger growth market such as an app-style feature for smartphones and the wearable technology industries. Nobody wants to lug around extra weight, and Google Glass is the perfect opportunity to lighten the load of the digital camera. The downside: You never know exactly when your picture was taken, or when your silly Homer Simpson dance recorded, because people aren’t whipping out a camera or smartphone anymore to take that incriminable shot…they’re just looking at you.
Current-Day Scenario: You take your running buddy with you to the trails.
Future scenario: Who needs a running buddy when you’ve got Google Glass? Just do a live Hangout with your friend while you run through Central Park and they run through their running trail half a million miles away from you.
Current-day Scenario: You rifle through your Italian dictionary to try and understand what the cute Italian girl is saying to you at the café. And say something intelligent in return.
Future scenario: There may be a two-second pause as your Google Glass translates their voice into something understandable in your native tongue – but this now nixes the need to learn new languages, especially when you’ve got something as quick and easy as Google Glass. Who cares if you’re looking a bit like a ‘droid from the future?
These are just a few scenarios of what a future with Google Glass wearers might look like as it paves the next step towards hyper-connectivity. The great question will be, will users, having been immersed in the smart-phone era, play it smarter with Google Glass with their social interactions? How Google Glass or similar upcoming products will add or take away from the social fabric of society remains to be seen.
By Joscelyne Yu