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BLOG: Thoughts on driving with Google Glass and other smartglasses

Al Sacco | Jan. 20, 2014
Nobody, including Google, wants to say just how safe it is to drive while using smartglasses like Glass, but developers continue to create apps designed specifically for drivers. The issue is a complex one, but's Al Sacco says banning smartglasses in cars outright isn't the answer. Here's why.

Then there are smartglasses like Epson's Moverio glasses that project a display directly in front of users, which would almost certainly be very dangerous while driving. But there's currently no official or legal differentiation between these two types of devices.

Shortly after the incident in Calif., Google decided to cover its (Gl)ass by updating the related terms of service to specify that it's not always safe to use Glass behind the wheel. But it has not come out and said specifically that you shouldn't ever use Glass while driving, probably in part because it knows that lots of developers are spending time creating driving-related apps.

This issue needs to be addressed sooner than later, and I don't think banning Glass or other smartglasses outright is the answer, as some lawmakers—who, I might add, have never even seen Glass in person—seem to think. If you're going to ban Glass navigation apps, why not ban-smartphone based apps, which are often just as distracting?

Personally, I think there is a place for Glass in the car, but today's driving apps probably aren't ideal, because many don't disable other Glass functions, such as notifications, that could distract and reduce the value of the driving apps. Then again, I also don’t want some new teenage driver fiddling with their smartglasses to dismiss a notification or something while blasting by on my street.

It's going to take some time and effort actually researching the issue before an informed decision can be made, and I think Google should be driving this initiative. (Pun proudly intended.) After all, Google is the company making the most popular, or at least most hyped, smartglasses on the market today. Google and its developers also stand to lose the most if Glass is banned outright while driving.

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