Google Glass, Google’s upcoming wearable computer, isn’t available to the public yet, but Google has already seen fit to dispel some of the urban legends that have sprung up about the wearable computing headset.
In an FAQ published Tuesday, Google tackles a number of questions it says it’s been getting from people who haven’t yet used Glass. (Which is most of the world, since Glass is currently available only to a few thousand early adopters in Google’s Explorer program).
Google really wants people to understand that Glass isn’t designed to let technophiles spend 24 hours a day bathed in connectivity.
Because it’s wearable, Glass actually frees people from the repetitive task of pulling their out their smartphone every time they want to get information.
“Paradoxically, many people actually report that after several weeks of wearing Glass they find themselves using technology less and far more efficiently because they get only the information they want, exactly when they want it, and then get on with their day,” Google says in the FAQ.
Some early Glass users have been observed not paying full attention to what’s going on around them. This has been spoofed in a Saturday Night Live skit, and it’s led to the coining of a new slang word, “Glasshole”.
In the FAQ, Google says “making eye contact with people is critical” and notes that it “shouldn’t be distracting.” The message: As with smartphones, Glass faux pas are a matter of individual behaviour and not an issue with the tech.
Of course, the biggest concerns about Glass are around privacy, and much of the FAQ deals with these questions.
Google says Glass isn’t constantly recording video and taking pictures while users are wearing it. Glass is more about “capturing moments,” and its default setting is to only record 10 seconds of video at a time.
Google says it’s obvious when users are recording video or snapping photos. Not only does the Glass screen light up, but users also have to speak a command, or press a button, to take video and photos.
While Glass can record up to 45 minutes of video at once, Google is discouraging users from using it this way.
“There are many devices available on the market today for people who wish to record their entire day, but Glass simply is not one of them,” Google says in the FAQ.
Glass doesn’t have facial recognition tech built in, and Google says it doesn’t plan to add it, nor will developers be allowed to build Glass apps that add this capability.
Google says it’s planning to make Glass available to a “wider group” of Explorers later this year, with “broader availability” slated for next year.
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