Google is apparently concerned that its Google Glass unit is getting pegged the wrong way. Late last week, the tech giant took efforts to dispel any gathering adverse notions with the release of its Top 10 Google Glass Myths.
The company said that, "in its relatively short existence, Glass has seen some myths develop around it," adding that it was releasing the accompanying myth-busters "just to clear the air."
The first myth to be dispelled, the company said, is that "Glass is the ultimate distraction from the real world." This has become a commonly mentioned issue, as might be expected from a Net-connected headset that users would be wearing on their faces as they conversed with the world. Google's response: Glass is off by default. Of course, one wonders how anyone other than the user might know that.
Recording Everything, Geeks
A second myth: "Glass is always on and recording everything." Again, the company notes, the unit is off by default and, at any rate, video recording only lasts for 10 seconds -- so it's not recording EVERYTHING.
There's the myth that "Glass Explorers are technology-worshiping geeks." Not true, the company says. Explorers -- the Glass early adopters -- are from all walks of life. "Glass is ready for prime time" is apparently another myth, as the company points out this is still a prototype that's already been through nine software updates and three hardware updates.
One myth in particular has raised some ire as well as some hopes -- the idea that "Glass does facial recognition (and other dodgy things)." Google has ruled out some kinds of applications for Glass, and facial recognition is one of them. "We made the decision based on feedback not to release or even distribute facial recognition Glassware," Google said, "unless we could properly address the many issues raised by that kind of feature."
Brad Shimmin, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, told us that he was somewhat "saddened" that Google would defensively remove some application possibilities from Glass. "Maybe there are some situations where facial recognition would be extremely appropriate," he noted, "such as working security at the Super Bowl."
Surveillance, Experience, Banned
The company also tackled the apparent myth that Glass covers one's eye or eyes, when in fact the Glass screen "is deliberately above the right eye, not in front or over it." Glass is also not "the perfect surveillance device," the company said, given that it is a highly conspicuous addition to one's facial accessories.
One item is potentially a myth as Google words it, that the device "is only for those privileged enough to afford it." The $1,500 price tag is very steep, but the company tries to take down the "privileged" connotation by noting that Explorers' companies often pay for it, or funds have been donated through crowdsourcing or gifts. Nevertheless, unless the price drops when it goes into general release, it will remain a very expensive item.
No, Google says, Glass is not banned everywhere. The reasoning here is curious, as the company says cell phones also have some bans, such as in locker rooms or on casino floors, and Glass is following cell phones' functionality. But Glass has also been banned from some bars, and more venues may follow suit as the device is seen in more kinds of locations.
Finally, the company seeks to destroy the idea that "Glass marks the end of privacy." Its reasoning: cameras on cell phones were here first, so, if privacy is over, it isn't our fault.