Google Glass isn’t even available for consumers and some in US Congress are already formally raising privacy questions. Google’s reaction? Privacy has been “top of mind” as it has developed Glass, and it takes trust seriously. It also feels that “social cues” may help with some concerns.
Google was asked about the Congressional letter during a “fireside chat” session about Google Glass at its Google I/O conference today.
Google Glass director Steve Lee responded as paraphrased below:
From the beginning, the social implications of wearing Glass have been at the top of our mind as we develop the product. We’re also concerned about the implications for people around those who wear Glass.
We moved the display above your eye, because eye contact is important.
To shoot photos or video, there are clear social cues; you have to press a button or speak to glass. It’s a very clear cue for people around you that you’re taking a photo or video.
We take trust and the reliability of our software very seriously; our design is done to ensure that the display is active when device is in use. You can see from the other side of Glass when it’s active. Our policy for developers will be that you have to allow that.
The Glass team follows the same data policies as the rest of Google in terms of how it handles data gathered through Glass.
Facial recognition was prototyped early on, but isn’t currently in our product plans. But, Google or third parties may do it in the future.
Postscript: We’ve now received an official formal statement from Google:
We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues. Our Glass Explorer program, which reaches people from all walks of life, will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology.