Behind Google Glass

Behind Google Glass

There are now approximately 10,000 Glass users in the United States. CBS47 takes a closer look at its practical uses and privacy concerns.
You can think of Google Glass base camp along the Embarcadero in San Francisco as a LensCrafters and a computer class all in one.

Users are taught to control Glass like a mouse.  Swiping, scrolling and tapping the touchpad or the right arm of the glasses, activates the prism which serves as your personal projector.

Google Glass was introduced in May of 2013. It continues to be in a testing phase.

There are now approximately 10,000 Glass users in the United States.  Google selected these so-called "explorers" to give feedback on the product. Understand, they are also folks who had to pay $1,500 to own the device.  Many people choose to wear open frames. However, you can snap on lenses in if you prefer.

Glass ties into your smartphone through bluetooth technology to handle the functions many of us perform everyday like talk, text, email, map and take pictures.

Glass runs apps too, such as workout routines.

"It will show a video of this is how you do a crunch. You do it and then the sensors here will tell you oh you did it wrong, try again," said Glass Guide, Jacob Barlow.

Ian Shakil is the CEO of Augmedix, a healthcare start-up built on Glass. The company's goal is to give doctors a more personalized experience with their patients.

"They spend more than a third of their day on the computer pushing and pulling information and not caring for patients," said Ian Shakil, CEO of Augmedix.

The difference with physicians wearing Glass is they can capture and store their interactions without ever touching a computer.  It's the employees at Augmedix who take care of the charting.

"We make use of the audio visual stream and from that information we're able to pull out what we called structured data, which is the information that needs to go into the electronic health record," said Shakil.

James Cha of Fresno has been an explorer for seven months and he's found the device to have many practical uses.

"Find a recipe for strawberry dessert," said Cha.
Like the convenience of operating hands-free at the grocery store.

"Instead of checking on my phone for a recipe or ingredients, when I'm shopping I can just look up and see what I need," said Cha.

And if James is not sure what to buy, he just asks his Glass.

"Google...tea that helps with colds," said Cha.

"Has it reached the point yet where you've said, how did I live without this thing?"

"Not yet. I think there's a long ways to go, but there's so much potential with it," said Cha.

Whole Foods Market welcomes the technology inside its stores.

"I think if it enhances the customer's shopping experience, that's great," said Toni Marchini, Whole Foods.

Not every business is supportive though, in San Francisco, there are about a dozen restaurants and bars which ban Glass.

The Willows put the rule in place after customers expressed concerns of being secretly recorded.

But as our Glass Guide, Jacob, shows us the act of recording is difficult to hide. Because the outside display lights up and is easy for others to see.

"So if we we're having a conversation like this, I would not be able to secretly record you," said Barlow.

Legal analyst Carl Faller says policing any potential misuses of Glass is challenging.

"The law always seems to be playing catch up with technology and this is just another area," said legal analyst, Carl Faller.

We all have an expectation of privacy in places like restrooms, but that's not the case out on the street where surveillance cameras are just about everywhere.

Faller says anyone making accusations that Google Glass is being used as a spy tool is sure to create a foggy situation.

"Whether or not you'll have to give notice that you are taping the person is going to be a real question that ends up being settled by the courts or legislature," said Faller.

Google is still perfecting its consumer grade model and those are expected to hit retail shelves by the end of 2014.
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