Oh sure, we're just as excited as you are about getting the opportunity to strap our eyeballs into Google's latest pet project, Google Glass, later this year (or 2014, latest). Ever since we saw Lawnmower Man, it's long been our dream for our birth cry to be the sound of every phone on this planet ringing in unison—and this certainly gets us one step closer to that! Having said that, it's not all Cyborg Rights and Augmented Reality explorations. There's a dark side to Google Glass that hasn't been mentioned much: in the not-so-distant future, Google Glass may be as ubiquitous as iPhones and iPads, which means everything you do could be recorded and stored into Google's cloud forever...without you even knowing it and regardless of whether you yourself use Google Glass.
Creative Good has an excellent/terrifying piece breaking down the likelihood of this happening, and it certainly is food for thought for anyone who is feeling as overwhelmed with technology as we are:
The really interesting aspect is that all of the indexing, tagging, and storage could happen without the Google Glass user even requesting it. Any video taken by any Google Glass, anywhere, is likely to be stored on Google servers, where any post-processing (facial recognition, speech-to-text, etc.) could happen at the later request of Google, or any other corporate or governmental body, at any point in the future.
Remember when people were kind of creeped out by that car Google drove around to take pictures of your house? Most people got over it, because they got a nice StreetView feature in Google Maps as a result.
Google Glass is like one camera car for each of the thousands, possibly millions, of people who will wear the device - every single day, everywhere they go - on sidewalks, into restaurants, up elevators, around your office, into your home. From now on, starting today, anywhere you go within range of a Google Glass device, everything you do could be recorded and uploaded to Google’s cloud, and stored there for the rest of your life. You won’t know if you’re being recorded or not; and even if you do, you’ll have no way to stop it.
And that, my friends, is the experience that Google Glass creates. That is the experience we should be thinking about. The most important Google Glass experience is not the user experience - it’s the experience of everyone else. The experience of being a citizen, in public, is about to change.
So what's to stop Google from becoming Skynet? How do we know it hasn't already become Skynet? Sergey Brin certainly seems self-aware. While everyone is obsessing about whether Warby Parker can add that je ne sais quoi to really put the product over the top, Google could be building up its defense grid. And yet we keep getting distracted by all the shiny pretty things—well, then again, if it's good enough for Brandy, who are we to argue?