A Study in Google Glass

wearable technology - keoni cabral

When Google began to attract attention to their search engine in 1998, no one knew how far the technology company would go. Following their breakthrough in the internet domain, they continued their success by launching and acquiring software such as Google Adwords to help businesses, Google Images, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Google Analytics, Google Translate and many more. More recently, they have entered the realm of hardware by introducing the Nexus Line, and in 2012 they launched Project Glass, better known as Google Glass.

Beautiful…But Problematic

Google Glass is a wearable technology designed to project information over a prism located in front of the user’s right eye. Applications of this device include: the ability to take pictures, record video, and live stream to others. While these features may seem like a socialite’s dream come true, they come with a host of problems.

Not-So-Confidential-Information Anymore:

First and foremost, stealing confidential information can be done with a wink of the eye. To take pictures with Google Glass, the user need only wink and the image will automatically upload to their computer. While this feature can be particularly useful for recording information or capturing memories, it can also be construed as extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. For example, if a user were to briefly glance at classified documents, they would be able to capture the documents in a flash.

Illegal Recording Galore:

Secondly, the ability to record videos can also infringe on copyright laws. To illustrate, if a Google Glass user were to enter a theatre for a newly released movie, they would have the capability to record the entire film, merely by being in the theatre. While one could argue that you could ask the wearer to remove the technology before entering the theatre, many users have prescription lenses attached to their Google Glass, and it would be impractical for them to remove the device.

Copyright Infringement and More:

Finally, Google Glass has the ability to connect to Google Hangouts and has LiveStream capabilities thanks for third party providers. These technologies allow the user to share what they are seeing in live time. While this feature can be extremely beneficial for some, like those in the medical profession who want to share their findings or consult overseas physicians on a whim, the LiveStream software can also be used to record someone else’s artwork, and therefore to infringe on someone else’s copyright. In this case, it would be difficult to establish ownership and could cause difficulties in the future.

Google Glass is only one of many wearable technologies being developed; other notable mentions include: Apple’s iWatch, Facebook’s Oculus Rift and many others which appeared in London’s Fashion Week. While these time saving gadgets may seem like the way of the future, technology companies have to be careful of the legal implications of the capabilities of these devices before casually mass producing them for public consumption.


Image Credit: Keoni Cabral, “Wearable Technology”; Flickr Creative Commons


About: Tracey McKenna

Tracey McKenna is a communications professional who graduated with a Masters in Literary Studies, specializing in adaptation theory, from the University of Waterloo. Her experiences include preparing literary reviews, research papers, critiques and various forms of business communication. With a penchant for writing and keeping up with trends, she is excited to join the IPEye team and to create articles which explore the realm of IP and emerging markets, particularly regarding education and media.

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