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Three lies about Google Glass

Mike Elgan | April 6, 2015
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt shocked everyone last week by telling The Wall Street Journal that Google isn't killing Google Glass.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt shocked everyone last week by telling The Wall Street Journal that Google isn't killing Google Glass.

Schmidt's comments were viewed as a surprise and a revelation, even though he was repeating what Google had said previously about its smart glasses project.

People thought Google was sunsetting the Google Glass project because they believed the press.

I love my peers in the tech press — individually. But as a herd, we can get it wrong.

In general, the great masses of tech journalists and bloggers are a band of trendy and easily influenced conformists who sometimes care more about staying in tune with the echo chamber than about objective reality.

The perfect example for this is how the tech press mob convinced everyone about three Google Glass lies: That Google Glass was an unacceptable invasion of privacy; that it was an overpriced elitist plaything; and that it was a failed and now dead project.

Lie No. 1: Google Glass is an unacceptable invasion of privacy

Google Glass has a camera on the front. Because of that, a tsunami of me-too opinion pieces slammed the project for threatening people's privacy. The argument went like this: We'd have no way of knowing if those "Glassholes" were streaming video 24/7 and recording everything we say and do.

(But if they were, you actually would know. You'd be able to see clearly in the prism exactly what the tiny display was showing. And when it's recording video, Glass lights up with the image of what's being recorded. Glass is the worst secret surveillance camera ever invented.)

The fear was: What if people record and stream everything and show that recording to who knows who?

For that reason, Google Glass was portrayed as unethical. The tech press asserted itself as the guardians of privacy and protectors of the public from the scourge of live-streaming video — that is until Meerkat and Periscope came along.

Now, many of the journalists who slammed Glass as a live-streaming invasion of privacy are using their smartphones to stream live video of everyone in sight to anyone simultaneously watching live.

The Meerkat and Periscope phenomenon is being driven by the tech press, mostly, recording every second of SXSW and chronicling every drunken San Francisco tech event.

The advent of Meerkat and Periscope revealed that the tech press echo chamber about the threat of Google Glass's potential for live streaming was hypocritical.

Lie No. 2: Google Glass is an expensive toy for elites

Google Glass cost "Explorers" (beta testers) $1,500 plus tax. That price was immediately criticized as far too high, and it was held up as proof that Google Glass was a shameless plaything for the rich.

 

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