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Google Glass gains critics, even before it goes on sale

Posting in Technology

Google Glass, the tech giant's wearable computer eyepiece, is arguably the most anticipated piece of gadgetry since the iPhone. It promises an unprecedented amount of interactivity -- allowing internet access and, through its voice-activated camera, allows the user to photograph or record any situation and post it to the Web in seconds.

The eyepiece is not expected to be available to consumers until next year; so far, Google is releasing 2,000 test versions to developers and plans to release another 8,000 to a pre-selected group of "explorers."

But even before its consumer launch, Glass is already ruffling feathers. Will people become permanently distracted - whether at the wheel or having a conversation? And will Google Glass rid us of any modicum of privacy we may have left?

The 5 Point Cafe, a dive bar in Seattle, has already preemptively banned the gadget. Though partly a publicity stunt, the move reflected the discomfort with he idea that any encounter could be filmed with something as innocuous-seeming as a pair of glasses.

In West Virginia, legislators have not wasted time in introducing legislation banning the use of Google Glass while driving (the proposal did not make it through before the end of the most recent session, but its sponsor has plans to try again).

And in Las Vegas, Google Glass will be prohibited from casinos and at shows - much like computers and recording devices.

It won't be the first time Google has been at the center of a privacy dispute - it has repeatedly come under fire for its Street View mapping program, as well as its use of targeted advertising in its email service.

But as Bradley Shear, a social media expert at George Washington University, put it, “Google Glass will test the right to privacy versus the First Amendment."

Photo: Google

via [The New York Times]

— By on May 8, 2013, 8:10 PM PST

Channtal Fleischfresser

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Channtal Fleischfresser has worked for The Economist, WNET/Channel 13, Al Jazeera English, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure