Vision, opportunity expanding for Google Glass
Steve Lee understands the hesitation some folks have about Google Glass.
When he saw an early version of the concept, a pair of augmented-reality glasses that users could wear to enhance their everyday lives, he thought it was crazy.
The specs were bulky. Uncomfortable. Not stylish.
That did not stop him from jumping to the project three years ago. The Slater, Iowa, native, who worked on the tech giant's first mobile applications including Maps, now directs the Glass project.
“It seemed a bit crazy at the time,” said Lee, 40. “But I saw a vision that this could be compelling. I could see how it could become a whole new way for people to interact if we could achieve some technical feats.”
Those technical feats have started to appear, and Lee, director of product management for Glass, envisions a day when consumers buy the specs from store shelves. He says the device someday will revolutionize industries, including health care and education.
Some teachers and developers who paid the $1,500 price tag are showing off what might be possible. Others, such as the leaders of Iowa State University's virtual reality program, say they cannot wait to see what is possible when students build products for the wearable computer. Glass is similar to a smartphone in that developers can build applications for it.
Privacy and security concerns must be addressed for the product to gain approval of government bodies. For now, users turn on Glass by using a simple head motion or tapping on the device. They can record or snap a picture, among other things, using a voice command.
Because of this, some government officials are closely watching Glass, aiming to determine security and privacy violations that nonusers may face.
In May, eight members of the House's bipartisan Privacy Caucus sent Google co-founder Larry Page a letter spelling out concerns, including the potential of facial recognition technology to expose nonusers' personal information; Google's ability to collect user information; and how privacy comes into play with third-party application developers.
Lee said the device's design negates the concern that users will take pictures or video of nonusers without consent.
“When recording with Glass, the display is always active,” Lee said. “Observers can see the light is on. You have to stare at people to record them.”
The Google Glass Explorer program sold the device to about 2,000 developers who attended Google's annual I/O developers conference. After that, the device was offered to about 8,000 Twitter users whose selection was based on a contest.
The program has created a diverse base to test the device in many real-world settings. Though some people may be uncomfortable wearing computers, the experience is not nearly as off-putting for those who grew up around technology.
Allistair Lee in Ames, Iowa, said he barely notices his device.
“People are going to be skeptical,” said Lee, 26, an Iowa State student. “With new technology, people are always trying to adapt.”
Lee, who is pursuing a master's degree in crop production and physiology, said Google Glass's possibilities are endless.
“Technology is evolving,” Allistair Lee said. “We are probably just scratching the surface. There are a lot of different things you can do.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hyundai recalls 883K Sonatas to fix gear shifters
- State to seek comments on drilling below Loyalsock State Forest
- Lenders could move against Anchor Hocking as extension expires
- Sprint CEO weighs price cuts
- Chevron gains approval for $1B refinery project
- Vigorous economy growing roots
- Fed offers a dual message on health of economy
- 11,000 Kawasaki vehicles recalled for injury risk
- Hiring in shale industry shifts to engineering, construction workers
- Consol Energy posts $25 million loss despite gas gains
- Hotels, restaurants lead job additions in Pittsburgh region