I love Google. But does Google love me back? The popular search engine/email/Smartphone/map-source/social-networking behemoth is an impressive cash cow in America’s technology sector, with a whopping $137.1 billion in cold, hard cash. That liquidity funds Google’s research and development arm, Google X. One product set to launch in late 2013 is Google’s contribution to eye wear.
Google Glass allows consumers to access the company’s services through their smart eyeglasses, facilitating humanity’s transition to what gearheads call “Augmented Reality” (AR): the ability to access real-time information through a worn device. Currently, segments of the U.S. military receive visual information (GPS map coordinates, friend-or-foe identification and battlefield medical support) through AR heads-up displays attached to their helmets. Google hopes to give civilian consumers what the military calls “situational awareness.” And that has many worried.
Imagine you, your wife and kids are having family-night-out at your favorite pizzeria. Sitting across the room is a cyborg-looking individual, his or her cold eyes pointed in your direction. Suddenly, the person crosses the room and introduces him or herself, knowing your name and that of every family member. You are at a distinct disadvantage – you have 20/20 vision, don’t need corrective lenses and are on a tight budget. The nearsighted cyborg, on the other hand, has enough disposable income to afford the estimated $1,500 for Google Glass. He or she also paid Google for access to your cyber dossier, which shows you’ve been searching real estate websites for homes in the area. The nearsighted cyber nuisance handing you their business card – over your cold slice of pizza – is a local realtor.