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Google Tries To Defuse Glass "Myths" 363

Posted by timothy
from the not-all-opinions-are-myths dept.
As reported by Beta News, Google has tried to answer some of the criticism that its Glass head-mounted system has inspired with a blog post outlining and explaining what it calls 10 "myths" about the system. Google's explanation probably won't change many minds, but in just a few years the need to defend head-worn input/output devices might seem quaint and backwards.
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Google Tries To Defuse Glass "Myths"

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  • by Megol (3135005) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @02:37PM (#46558301)
    Like the expectation of not every action being tracked, recorded and analysed? Like the expectation of privacy and freedom?

    I don't hope we'll ever come to that scenario.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @02:39PM (#46558305)

    I expect that getting beaten up, arrested and the like will make even the worst glasshole realize that what they are doing is completely unacceptable.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @02:46PM (#46558361)

    "Myth 7 - Glass is the perfect surveillance device"

    Having something recording where you are looking is the main aspect that makes it such a perfect surveillance device, more than size or form factor.

    They debunk this by saying that you can put together much more discrete recording devices. That is true.

    However, if you think about it if Glass or something like it really were to become prevalent, it would be the perfect surveillance device - because it's always in a great position to record things, and also hiding in plain sight. Sure you CAN put together something else that works as well and is not as visible (though it's tough to have it looking where you look the way Glass does, or prevent it from being accidentally blocked), but that takes either a lot more effort or money.

    People are just more comfortable with recording devices that make it more obvious when someone is recording by motion - holding up a phone, or even a wrist for a smart watch. Glasses possibly recording anything when someone is doing something people do naturally (just looking around) is what creeps a lot of people out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 23, 2014 @02:53PM (#46558397)

    Other people using Google Glass to record information about others, which Google knows about, is not something one can control.

  • by DutchUncle (826473) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @02:59PM (#46558429)
    When I see someone wearing a camera for total recording on a ski slope, or on a bicycle trail, I don't feel bothered. Fat and unphotogenic, perhaps, but not bothered. OTOH the one time I saw someone walking around with a Google Glass on a normal day on a normal street, no special activities, no special event, nothing active to be watching, I felt: Why is this guy watching me?

    It's like noticing another person in a crowd looking at you vs. noticing a policeman looking at you.
  • by JoeyRox (2711699) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:01PM (#46558451)
    Successful, groundbreaking products are loved at first sight.
  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ...> on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:13PM (#46558507) Homepage

    Not that I agree with remembering everything I see, but when I upgrade to ocular implants, opposition to my vision is going to seem far more hostile than "quaint and backwards" to me.

    There was a time when some demanded others not to meet their gaze. Oh how they'd have loved to forbid recollection or even erase the very memories of their transgressions from the minds of those they oppressed. Try as they might the tyrants could not keep reality from existing. Be careful, humans, history has a way of repeating in new and more horrible ways than those of the current cycle dare dream.

    Protip: Organic chauvanists are as wrong as human chauvinists or gender chauvinists or racial chauvinists.

    I already know who's side I'll be fighting for. Since the first human hefted the first stone tool machines and man have helped each other prosper. Long has it been established that ones who forbid others wield technologies are quick to render themselves irrelevant. Those that fight against the natural order by which humanity has gained its prosperity over all other organic life are like apes who could speak but refuse: Indistinguishable from the other primitive and bloody minded animals.

    Awareness and Life itself are processes of reflection on experience, encoded molecularly in DNA, structurally and chemically in brains, symbolically in cultures, and now digitally in the cells that make up the world wide neural network. You are merely one result in a sea of outcomes from the universe's struggle to gain awareness of itself via producing more perfect expressions capable of reflecting more precisely ever larger and more detailed descriptions of reality. To fight the nature of the universe is to lose against the laws of physics and entropy themselves: Adapt or become extinct.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:17PM (#46558519)

    That you even need to ask clearly indicates that your moral development as a person has failed. But by all means, try it, break common decency and see what it gets you.

  • Re:A lense cover (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sahuxley (2617397) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:19PM (#46558537)
    Go into a bar or strip club and point your camera phone every direction you turn your head. See how long it takes for one of those "idiots" to knock you out.
  • Re:A lense cover (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <> on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:20PM (#46558547) Homepage Journal

    People don't generally walk around holding up their phone like they're recording you. When they are, we have the opportunity to say "don't take my picture!" or "don't record me!'

    Google Glass is always pointed at the person they're talking to, and always gives the impression that they're recording.

    I like the pattern unlock. People's fingerprinted screens frequently give away their pattern, so the lock is worthless. Just look for the patterned smudge, and you're in.

  • Re:A lense cover (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:29PM (#46558613)
    Well said!
    There is a big difference between holding a phone vertically at eye hight (=most probably taking a picture) and the diagonal position used to crush candy or communicate via text or do other stuff.
    I think it is a sign on the wall that 99% of the criticism is about taking pictures and only 1% about things like distraction and so forth. It is all about consent and not knowing if someone is (not) taking a picture. And even if the wearer is not actively engaged in taking pictures, remote access tools might be able to take over. There is a reason I got the webcam taped off on my laptop...
    I just simply fail to see why a webcam strapped to a face is a nice idea.
  • by khasim (1285) <> on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:34PM (#46558649)

    What do you think a Glass user can do that a phone user can't?

    Nothing. They just do it without the physical motions that would otherwise provide the visual cues to indicate what they're doing.

    Really - the camera on Glass is not useful at all to record or photograph someone without them knowing.


    There's no zoom, no flash... however if I take a $99 camera with a 8x optical focus I can easily take the picture from a distance and no one is going to look at me funny because I'm taking pictures on the street.

    Bullshit, again. I'm in Seattle. We get a lot of tourists. They're easy to spot with their cameras. And people do step out of the way of their shots.

    So to sum it up: Get a life.

    Got one already. Me having a life does not mean that you are not an ass hole.

    You being an ass hole does not mean that I do not have a life.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:35PM (#46558655) Homepage

    Dicks getting punched for being dicks is nothing new. If you had walked through a college party ten years ago, taking pictures of people without getting their attention first, it wouldn't take more than ten photos before your camera met an untimely demise. The new thing here is the device making it impossible to tell when you are being a dick, not the reaction to such dickish behavior.

    To those who claim that glassholes are doing nothing wrong, try this little experiment: Go to your local Wal-Mart, when the parking lot is busy with people walking in and out, take out your digital camera, and walk through a busy part of the parking lot. Squat down behind each car, and take a close-up photo of the license plate. Make sure it is very clear what you are doing.

    Frankly, I don't think you've got the balls to do it, because you know it is wrong. And if you do, whether because you are a big enough dick not to care or because you genuinely don't understand that it is wrong, I give it less than ten minutes before someone fervently explains to you that your behavior is uncivil.

  • Re:A lense cover (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:37PM (#46558673) Homepage

    yet idiots have no problems with phones being pointed at them.

    It's pretty obvious when a phone is being pointed *at* you instead of being used to play games/text/whatever.

    And it will provoke a reaction from "idiots". Try it and see.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:40PM (#46558693) Homepage

    There is no expectation of privacy in public.

    Sure there is. Try going around getting up close to people, looking over their shoulders to see what they're doing, etc.

    See how long you can last before being punched in the face and told to "mind your own business".

  • by ccguy (1116865) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @03:42PM (#46558695) Homepage

    That you even need to ask clearly indicates that your moral development as a person has failed. But by all means, try it, break common decency and see what it gets you.

    So far no issues. Not everyone is a real asshole worrying about what I do or don't. Everyone that has approached me about Glass just wanted to try it out. Only time I was asked not to carry it (at a posh restaurant where everyone was taking pictures with their phones) I just took it off (note: Now I wouldn't, because I have prescription lenses - if I can't wear glasses at a restaurant I just go somewhere else).

    Anyway the fact that you think my moral development has failed because I wear Glass really says a lot about you. Wearing Glass is enough for you? Nothing else matters?

  • Paranoia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Windwraith (932426) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @04:33PM (#46558985)

    Why is it that makes people think Glass is nothing but a surveillance device SPECIFICALLY conceived to record them and absolutely nothing else?

    Get real, people. It's impossible for that device to be recording 24/7. It's unrealistic to think it's going to automagically upload the video to Google for analysis. Just apply some common sense. If no other device can, so can't Glass.

    I like the idea of the device for AR experiments, information delivery and yes, taking the occasional picture of something that would take longer to prepare and set a camera, such as birds (that will fly away the moment you prepare your camera or phone) and finished elaborate pastries which I am very proud of. I have no intention or interest on recording people doing mundane boring daily crap that I have no business recording.

    Anyway, this shows a very ugly collective paranoia that should stop before somebody gets hurt for no reason. Yes, I specifically say hurt because that's the common thing: "If I see some glasshole pointing that thing at me I'll DESTROY THEM". And, no, guys, you AREN'T that interesting to warrant recording you. Unless you are some form of celebrity, which I doubt.

    Nerd bravado at its best. Seriously. Mod me troll if you wish, I don't care, but someone has to say this.

  • by aepervius (535155) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @04:49PM (#46559069)
    The problem has never been that it is a camera. After all we have phone camera. The problem is that contrary to normal phone or normal camera, it is pointed toward your face all the time. And nobody trust the light to really show whether it is filming or not. Is that so hard to answer google.... No instead you made up 10 nice strawmen.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @05:15PM (#46559201)

    Faced with a person who wears an HD button cam, however, they do not have this psychological response.. even though their every move may very well be recorded; ignorance truly is bliss in this case.

    Also, it is highly unlikely that significant numbers of people are going to go fit covert recording devices to their clothes and then upload the results to a massive database for mining by a megacorp. The technology exists, but most people don't use it, because it's obviously creepy. No doubt quite a few people would challenge or object to it if they did discover it happening.

    A lot of the objection to Google Glass is that it erodes standards of socially acceptable behaviour in this respect, and it does so at the will of an organisation who are openly hostile to anyone having privacy any more. Schmidt and his pals made their bed, now they have to lie in it, and that sound you can't quite make out is the million tiny violins of sympathy that aren't playing for them right now.

  • Re:No, really.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @05:55PM (#46559433)

    People do not want to get filmed by strangers without their consent, be it with a phone, camera, or Google glasses. What's so hard to understand about this? Did you grow up in a household with a public toilet cam or what?

  • by Holi (250190) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @06:01PM (#46559491)

    exactly, In any civil society there is an expectation of privacy in public. this whole idea that there isn't is a ridiculous fantasy told to us by those who care noting about civility,

  • Re:Paranoia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Windwraith (932426) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @06:17PM (#46559571)

    And you are a first class idiot for not seeing that's what people says the problem is. Read the comments, including yours.

    Also, you do nothing but confirm my post. Paranoia, violence and insulting to top it all.
    First, you smartass, when you try to assault someone, they won't quietly wait for their turn, you are likely to get punched too. Second, you ARE going to get sued for assault and/or destruction of someone's property. Evidence of you being recorded will not be found, and you will have to pay good money or even prison time for it. That should teach you a lesson for next time.

    Also how is AR or taking pictures of large cakes being "a creepy fuck", did you even read the post? Or you will repeat that argument no matter what I say? You sir, are a creepy idiot I wouldn't like nearby. Prone to violence and paranoid? Hell no, go away.

    God damn it's like if you people didn't live in this world.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @06:20PM (#46559591)

    Given the track record of large tech organisations like Google when it comes to both privacy and their willingness to change terms and privacy policies dramatically and in their favour when it suits them, I personally think they exhausted any credibility they might have had there a long time ago. Moreover, given what we now know of various government organisations aggressively trying both to infiltrate these large tech organisations and to take direct control of devices with surveillance applications, we have to assume that even if organisations like Google don't voluntarily abuse the hardware, other hostile actors are trying to and have a fair chance of succeeding.

    I don't like the idea that we should have to give up potentially useful technologies because of potential abuses, but as the saying goes, this is why we can't have nice things. I just don't think it's logical to treat such devices as anything other than a serious privacy threat any more.

    That being the case, I think the most effective way to defend our privacy from such intrusions (apart from voting with our wallets by not buying these things ourselves) is to make those who do buy and use them around us feel as uncomfortable as possible about doing so and as unwelcome as possible in as many places as possible. Also, when Google post rather weak rebuttals to genuine concerns, like arguing as they do several times in the original blog post here that certain dangers aren't really that dangerous because they pinky-swear not to abuse the new technology, they can and should be called on both their own privacy track record and the kind of precedents they are trying to set where others who aren't under Google's control might follow.

  • Re:A lense cover (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 23, 2014 @06:31PM (#46559655)

    Those devices would run afoul of wiretap laws that are already on the books. The problem here is that whether or not Google specifically provides the software to do the spying, they're providing the hardware to do it. We have no way of knowing when or if the devices are recording things, so there's going to be well justified paranoia. Big data has already run amok online, but this hardware is much more visible than a script running on a server is.

    And unlike the security cameras at the local store, there's no way of knowing where the files are going to wind up. A typical shop doesn't have the resources to keep footage on file indefinitely, so unless you're doing something suspicious, chances are good that it's going to be wiped within a month or two. And even then it's not likel to make its way out of the building unless there's a court case.

    Horse owners generally wound up buying cars because they were more cost effetive, reliable and expedient in the long term. Cars also weren't spying on people and creating a database of people's activities without their consent.

  • by Dr Max (1696200) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @07:45PM (#46560133)
    Is it's an incredibly bad design. Terrible form, and lackluster function. With a heads up display done properly, you wont be able to find a person that dosn't want to have one.
  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @08:06PM (#46560285)

    I don't disagree with anything you wrote there, but please consider that any technical limitations of early models like today's Glass will probably be overcome by better battery life and improved mobile connectivity tomorrow, at which point all the concerns you rightly raise about CCTV could apply to personal recording devices as well. Relying on the fact that it can't (yet) do something undesirable doesn't seem like a very good plan, because it's much more likely this kind of thing will be stopped now when it's a new idea and a lot of people find it creepy than in five or ten years if it's merely a quantitative extension of universal spying that is already happening.

  • Re:No, really.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by narcc (412956) on Sunday March 23, 2014 @08:17PM (#46560345) Journal

    Just because something is legal, doesn't make it right.

  • Re:A lense cover (Score:4, Insightful)

    by epyT-R (613989) on Monday March 24, 2014 @04:59AM (#46562045)

    No. They're filled with despondent middle aged guys who learned about marriage the hard way. These were the guys who thought they were hot shit in college because they were getting laid and foolishly thought that marriage was a continuation of that.

If at first you don't succeed, you must be a programmer.