Will Google Glass face adoption challenges due to privacy concerns?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | April 29, 2013 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Everyone seems to have an opinion about Google's ground-breaking product.

Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow

It sure will

or

Should but won't

Ben Woods

Ben Woods

Best Argument: Should but won't

75%
25%

Audience Favored: It sure will (75%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

New social norms

Jason Perlow: Wearable computing has been part of the holy grail of the pursuit towards integration of information science with human interface devices. We've seen its use described in popular science-fiction novels and shown in movies/television (like Star Wars and Star Trek) and its been the fodder of futurists for longer than I can possibly remember.

There's no question that these devices will be used extensively, particularly in vertical markets for specific types of applications where hands-free computing has distinct advantages, such in the medical and military fields as well as breaking news reporting. But products like Google Glass will face numerous adoption challenges because they present issues in any number of social situations where privacy or desire to be "off the record" is most cherished.

Glass and similar products that enter the market because of their potential for recording images and video in a stealthy fashion will be unwelcome anywhere that large numbers of people gather and expect some degree of privacy, and new social norms will have to be developed for their use as well as establishment of etiquette for obtaining the consent of those being recorded.

We won't think twice

Ben Woods: Google Glass in undoubtedly an invasion of privacy. But, however how much noise the man on the street makes, will Google's Glass be welcomed by the buying public? Absolutely. Despite the numerous potential security concerns around Glass, it's price, not privacy, that will determine whether the networked specs will ultimately succeed or fail.

In a world where people have come to expect something for nothing, we've become far too used to putting the convenience of a service above any potential privacy concerns. I'll bet you're no exception: you almost certainly clicked 'accept' without reading the security permissions for that last app you installed, and the email, social networking sites and web apps you use today are likely to be free because you are the product - we're pretty comfortable with giving up our privacy if it's convenient or 'cool' enough.

Think about it like CCTV - there was a time when people declared it the death of privacy, and regardless of whether that was true (then or now), it's now a part of everyday life that we don't think twice about. Ultimately, that's what Google Glass will become.

Talkback

79 comments
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  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3-inch phablet

    This just seams to be a mid-range phone with a large screen, more of a budget phablet with a few missing features. Not very Mega under the hood I expected more from a phone this size.
    Stephen McQuarrie
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Ultimately, it's up to market, but I do have my doubts.

    Ultimately, it's up to market, but I do have my doubts.

    And it's not really having to do much with privacy.

    Okay, so we, as power users and technology enthusiasts, love the idea of the wearable computer, and this type of device is basically the essence of that.

    However - does geeking out really guarantee that it'll be common with the masses?

    Not really. Some devices make it big (iPhone), wile others don't (flying car). Just because somebody used it in a Sci-Fi movie doesn't mean it's the next big hit.

    I'm not yet convinced this is the next big thing. We'll see, but it better work exceptionally well and offer fantastic benefits.

    Now, to address the primary issue, we have two questions:

    (1) Should privacy issues be a reason for people to stop buying it?
    and
    (2) Will privacy issues prevent people from buying it?

    The answer to (1) is rather subjective, and may vary depending on the situation. One can imagine situations where having a camera is extremely helpful (the gov't tracking down the Boston bombing suspects), as well as extremely harmful (a criminal organization stalking a victim).

    So - (1) really has no ultimate answer, although when in doubt I'd say privacy should be upheld.

    So, since I'd err on the side of privacy, I'll say "it should."

    The answer to (2) is probably not. Will there be people who will refuse to buy because of privacy issues? Yes. Will they be the majority? Unlikely. If social media is any indication, most people don't have "privacy" at the top of their list, even if perhaps it should.

    So - I guess that means I'm under "should but won't."

    That being said - I don't wonder if this is really gonna take off, or if it'll just wind up being another tech toy. "It comes from the minds of futurists and sci-fi writers" has never been proven to be a big indicator of the success of an item.
    CobraA1
    Reply Vote I'm for Should but won't
    • Privacy concerns won't be a reason that will stop people from buying these

      1) Should privacy issues be a reason for people to stop buying it?

      Why? It's not the purchaser's privacy that is being exploited. The camera sees everyone and everything but the wearer.

      (2) Will privacy issues prevent people from buying it?

      No, because as I mentioned in another article in reference to these, the people this appeal to won't value other's social values as they don't unstand them, given they aren't truely "social people" themselves.
      William Farrel
      Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided
      • You refer to a small audience.

        "Why? It's not the purchaser's privacy that is being exploited."

        It doesn't matter. In (1) I'm talking about "should," not "would." Every moral belief system I've run across has some form of "do unto others as you would do unto yourself." There is no widely recognized system of moral beliefs that declares that you should do everything selfishly, with no consideration for others.

        "because as I mentioned in another article in reference to these"

        Which I didn't read, as I don't follow you.

        "the people this appeal to won't value other's social values as they don't unstand them, given they aren't truely 'social people' themselves."

        Well, you're making some assumptions as to the types of people this would appeal to. Which is hard to say for sure for a product that has not seen the mass market.

        The people you are referring to is a small minority, so if the glasses only appeal to them, then I'd say the glasses are gonna fail.
        CobraA1
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • Sorry, I tought you had responded to the post i referenced

          "because as I mentioned in another article in reference to these"

          My bad.

          And I hopet follow me. If you do, please don't do it with Google Glasses. :)
          William Farrel
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
          • Bring back the edit button

            And I hope you don't follow me. If you do, please don't do it with Google Glasses. :)
            William Farrel
            Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • Now, back to the reply

          I'm talking should also, but I just don't see that happening, not right off the bat. People should respect other's wishes, but today some don't seem to. It will take others to force that issue to the forefront, and then glasses will drop off.

          A small group doesn't understand "social" in the sense of social gatherings. We gather with a select group of people to talk and enjoy the day. The people that these will cater to are the ones that don't understand the concept that if the people at the other end of the glasses weren't invited, then why are you transmitting that.

          Also, if the people at the other end of the glasses are more important then the group you're with, then why would we invite you?

          So yes, I believe that those that understand the concept of social will not see much of a use for a "social media device" like Google glasses.
          William Farrel
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • re: You refer to a small audience.

          > There is no widely recognized system of
          > moral beliefs that declares that you should
          > do everything selfishly, with no
          > consideration for others.

          Widely, maybe not. But a small but influential group follow Ayn Rand, specifically, the Republican Party. I know that reading Rand is a condition of employment in Paul Ryan's office.
          none none
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
          • The Republican party did not borrow her ethics, just her politics.

            "But a small but influential group follow Ayn Rand, specifically, the Republican Party."

            Her philosophy of objectivism was likely influential to scientific thinking, and her politics of individual rights and capitalism are found in the Republican party, but her idea of ethics didn't take hold so much, as her ethics is in conflict with Christian ethics, and Christian ethics are currently dominant in the Republican party.

            Note: When I refer to the Republican party, I am generally speaking about the Republican party in the USA.

            So yes, I stand by my statement. The Republican party did not borrow her ethics, just her politics.
            CobraA1
            Reply Vote I'm Undecided
          • reThe Republican party did not borrow her ethics, just her politics.

            No, sir. One's politics are informed by one's ethics. They are inseparable.
            none none
            Reply Vote I'm Undecided