Editorial | Looking at the world through a new set of eyes: Google Glass
Published: Friday, October 4, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2013 00:10
If sticking a computer an inch away from your face seems like something you would be interested in, you should have applied. More importantly, you should have started saving. Google’s newest product, Google Glass, is such a hot commodity there was actually an application process required to get your hands on it. First, you’d apply by tweeting “#ifihadglass” followed by reasons you were eligible to purchase the product. Then, only if you’re approved, you’d fly on your own dime to New York or Los Angeles to pick it up. Seemes..uhh..excessive.
An innovation grant from the Miami University library gave students the chance to try Google Glass. Jen Wallers’ IMS 201 students were lucky enough to try Google Glass recently. Waller’s Storify called “Glass in IMS 201” documents students’ experiences and reactions to the gadget.
One of these students, Chris Dieter (@dieter_chris) tweets, “Just trying out google glass in #ims201e…I’ll definitely be a #glasshole”(term used to refer to Google Glass fanatics). We liked TJ Hillard’s (@TaylorHillard) twitpic with caption, “GOOGLE GLASS!! 1 of 7000 in circulation right now for beta testing #ims201”. Alex Moormeier (@Alexmoormeier) also brings up a good point, “If you can get past looking like an idiot while using it, Google Glass is a helluva cool invention. #technologyisfun #IMS201.”
The Editorial Board of The Miami Student has a lot to say about Google Glass, which is probably true for most people when they first learn of this product. Though we have our speculations, we realize everything has a first step; this could very possibly be Google’s first step to a piece of technology we never knew could exist.
We have faith in the potential benefits of technology, even if we’re slightly wary of it at first.
For example, an orthopedic surgeon at OSU, Dr. Christopher Kaeding, used Google Glass to send live video of an ACL surgery to doctors and students miles away. In an interview with Brie Zeltner for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Dr. Kaeding said, “It’s hands-free and voice-activated, so I can keep my hands sterile as a surgeon.” He also adds, “I was impressed by how quickly you adjust to it,” evidence that this small device could help improve medical competence and education in remote areas of the world.
Without a doubt, there is much potential to be seen with Google Glass. Every application—weather, maps, photo, email, Siri and even Google Translate—appear on the miniature screen.
But what makes this piece of technology different from the ones we already have in our hands? What is the point of moving it an inch from our eyeballs? The fact that Google Glass can record, send messages and play video are great, but can we handle it?
Texting and driving is the ultimate sin of a self-described “good multitasker”, but the costs really outweigh the benefits when we convince ourselves we can do two, three, even four things at once.
In an NPR Talk of the Nation broadcast with Ira Flatow this past May, Clifford Nass, a psychology professor at Stanford University says, “The top 25 percent of Stanford students are using four or more media at one time whenever they’re using media. So when they’re writing a paper, they’re also Facebooking, listening to music, texting, Twittering, et cetera. And that’s something that just couldn’t happen in previous generations even if we wanted it to.” So if we have Facebook, Twitter, Redditt, YouTube, Pandora and Gmail all pulled up on multiple tabs, we’re certainly not able to concentrate or focus on anything of importance; we’re just too distracted. Google Glass may add to this problem.
Nass adds, “When it comes to media or our prefrontal cortex, the thinking part of our brain, […] we’re basically switching back and forth. We only have about three bits’ worth of information we can mess with at any one time.”
A University of Utah study conducted by David Strayer last year found that only two percent of people can multi-task. Strayer calls them “supertaskers”. For the other 98 percent of us, we are blindly shrinking our productivity.
The overwhelming reaction to Google Glass, even months before it’s release, says a lot about our trust in Google and technology itself. Our generation, Gen X, may be more willing to take a risk and try Google Glass before others. We may also be better prepared than our predecessors for “wearable technology.”